Amazon uses peer pressure to force staff to work when ill, claims Union

Amazon uses peer pressure to force staff to work when ill, claims Union

Amazon is at the centre of yet another row about how it treats its workers.

This time, the global online retailer stands accused of using peer pressure to ensure that workers turn up for work even when they’re sick – The Independent reports.

In Germany, the company gives its workers a monthly bonus of 6 per cent to 10 per cent of their salary – but only if, as a group, attendance is high enough.

Union representatives claim that this means that Amazon is relying on peer pressure to ensure sick employees turn up for work.

Speaking to The Independent, Thomas Voss, a spokesman for the Union that represents Amazon staff in Germany, said: “Our union sees this as an unsuitable remedy because it does not fight the causes of disease. It only ensures that the employees go to work even when they are ill."

The policy sets workers against each other and people are only attracted by the bonus because wages are too low, Voss said, adding that the primary cause of sick leave at the company is poor working conditions, “but Amazon does not want to admit this”.

A spokesman for Amazon said: “We want our employees to both arrive at and return from work in good health. All agreements regarding the health bonus were agreed in accordance with local works councils, and comply with the legal requirements of the Continued Remunerations Law, as a matter of course. The agreements may differ from location to location."



The Sunday Times’ investigation into Amazon found that temporary warehouse workers were sanctioned for taking sick days, often walked 10 miles to work and could find company water dispensers empty when they arrived.

In December, Amazon warehouse workers in Scotland reported to camping near their workplace to save money commuting.

The Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, Willie Rennie said that “Amazon should be ashamed that they pay their workers so little they have to camp out in the dead of winter to make ends meet.”

This month, Amazon incurred the condemnation of MPs for getting UK staff to sign “intelligible contracts” that appeared to be designed to stop individuals asserting employment rights.

Rennie added: “Amazon need to take a long, hard look at themselves and change their ways."

Amazon CEO and Founder, Jeff Bezos, is the third richest man in the world with an estimated wealth of $77.4billion (£60.5billion).

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