73% of Brits think Amazon should engage with unions

Almost three-quarters – 73 per cent – of Brits think Amazon should be legally required to recognise and engage with trade unions representing their employees.

The research, commissioned by UK-based trade union Unite, also found 68 per cent of Brits believe trade union recognition should be a prerequisite for companies securing public sector contracts.

The vast majority – 77 per cent - of the survey’s respondents believe the government should only be able to grant contracts to companies that commit to fair working practices, which includes training, fair pay, and inclusion.

Unite’s survey also called for increased support for gig workers; 74 per cent of Brits believe Amazon is responsible for providing them with fair working conditions.

In addition, over three-quarters - 76 per cent - believe Amazon workers should be able to unionise without interference from their employer.

The pandemic has also shifted the perception of Amazon workers; 58 per cent of Brits now view them as key workers.

The news comes after research from GMB found injuries to Amazon workers spike in the build-up to key sales dates like Prime Day.

An analysis of ambulance call outs to Amazon warehouses reveals an increase before Black Friday, Christmas, and Prime Day according to the research.

Amazon’s Prime Day sale is predicted to hit record online spending of more than $11 billion, according to Adobe’s Digital Economy Index forecast.

“We respect our employees’ right to join, form or not to join a labour union or other lawful organisation of their own selection, without fear of reprisal, intimidation or harassment,” said an Amazon spokesperson. “Across Amazon, including in our fulfilment centres, we place enormous value on having daily conversations with each associate and work to make sure direct engagement with our employees is a strong part of our work culture.”

They added: “The fact is, we already offer excellent pay, excellent benefits, and excellent opportunities for career growth, all while working in a safe, modern work environment. The unions know this.”

“Amazon workers have played a crucial part in people’s lives during the pandemic and the public expects fair employment practices and decent terms and conditions,” said Unite executive officer Sharon Graham. “Amazon attacks all attempts by workers to gain a collective voice of their own but it is now time for a new settlement.”

“The public strongly supports Amazon workers’ right to trade union representation regardless of whether the workers are directly employed or if they work in the gig economy.”

“Unite is calling on Jeff Bezos to back a declaration which guarantees that Amazon workers in the UK and Ireland have the freedom to talk with and form a union without fear. Our union is campaigning up and down the country.”

He added: “We are determined to win trade union rights for Amazon workers.”

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