What's it like working in an Amazon warehouse? The results

UPDATE: If you're looking for the Amazon warehouse report (15th April), please find them in this blog:
https://www.organise.org.uk/blog/2018/4/13/amazon-the-report


The Organise community includes hundreds of Amazon workers, here are some of their stories about what it's like working inside these giant warehouses:

“The targets are now very high and I struggle very hard to try to reach them. For example, when I was hired the target was 80 items/hour, now its 120 items/hour! Real slavery!
They behave like the Mafia! Leadership is hand in hand with HR and nobody is investigate nothing - they feel that they are untouchable and can do everything they want! For example, the promotions are very-very subjective and don't take into account the worker performances. You are only promoted if you are a relative, girlfriend or boyfriend with leaders! Is really disgusting!"
- Rugeley BHX1
“Some of the leadership are stalking new girls hoping that if they give them a good position in the Fulfilment Centre, the leadership will get something else in exchange.” - Rugeley BHX1
“Targets are a push for anyone not in the exact spot, different areas make hitting these targets impossible. Even if you are packing from a prime location, to maintain the rates is close to impossible especially over a 10 hour shift. Rates fall as work falls off, but no allowance is given for these times, and if you don't hit your target your are dismissed - even if you have been assigned a cleaning task that would impact on your rate.” - Tilbury LCY2
“The targets are unreachable. I know lots of people don't take their breaks just to reach their target.” - Rugeley BHX1
“The breaks are too short, walking across the warehouse to get to your locker or the canteen eats into 10 minutes of your break time. Also when your randomly get selected for security checks that eats into your break so you only actually get a few minutes to sit down before you go back.” - Peterborough EUK5
“The breaks are too strict, by the time you walk to get a drink you don't have time to use toilet let alone sit down. If you’re 2 minutes late you get a ‘break abuse’, at 5 break abuses you are fired.” - Peterborough EUK5
“I have to finish my break early because if I clock in one minute late I’m issued with a penalty point. Three points and you get sacked from your job.” - Peterborough EUK5
“Often, a lot of the associates can't reach their targets as there may not be enough work to process. Unfortunately the associates are still penalised even though this is out of their control, not fair at all!” - Hemel Hempstead LTN2

 

“For picking, the target is around 100 units per hour which means we have to pick 100 units within 60 minutes from anywhere across one floor of the Fulfilment Centre. This for normal days. And during peak time its 120 to 140 units per hour, which is near on impossible.

During these tasks if any printing machine or tape machine stops working it will affect your ability to hit the target. Amazon may say these short gaps won’t affect your overall target, but Amazon don’t understand that we’re not robots, humans get tired after they’ve been working for hours. Only robots can work as per Amazon's concept. If any human worked like Amazon insists for more than a year, I believe that person has some supernatural power or more likely they’ll get very sick.

Amazon should see Associates as human beings rather than a non stop working robot which works 10 hours flat. And they should reduce the target of 100 units per hour.”
- Hemel Hempstead LTN2

Got a story to tell about your workplace? Take part in our confidential survey here:
https://platform.organise.org.uk/surveys/what-s-it-like-where-you-work

Some responses have been edited for length and clarity.

Nat Whalley