GMB plans Amazon Black Friday protest in Rugeley over “inhuman” working conditions

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More than 100 trade unionists are expected to march in Staffordshire against the treatment of Amazon workers.

GMB, the union for Amazon workers, is staging a mass Black Friday protest in anger at what they describe are “inhuman conditions” people work under at the company’s Rugeley warehouse.

The protest is said to start at 5pm outside the Amazon warehouse in Rugeley, followed by a march to a rally at the Lea Hall Miners’ Club at 6pm this Friday (November 23).

The rally will feature speakers, refreshments, and live music by Grace Petrie.

Jack Dromey, MP for Erdington and Shadow Minister for Work and Pensions, will also attend the protest after he visited the warehouse earlier this month to speak to bosses about the conditions.

He said: “Amazon has serious issues with the health and safety of its workers which must be dealt with as a matter of urgency.

“A modern, 21st Century company should recognise their workers’ union and that’s what they must now do.”
Jack Dromey MP visited the Rugeley warehouse earlier this month

Jack Dromey MP visited the Rugeley warehouse earlier this month

An investigation by GMB earlier this year revealed ambulances were called out to the Amazon’s Rugeley warehouse more than 100 times during the past three years.

Some of the incidents include, electric shocks, bleeding, chest pains, major trauma and pregnancy/maternity problems.

Separate figures were brought to the surface by GMB which reveal a total of 88 reports made from Amazon Rugeley to the Health and Safety Executive since 2015.

GMB members working at the Rugeley warehouse report working in constant agony, not having time to go to the toilet and a heavily pregnant woman being forced to work standing up for hours.

Amanda Gearing, GMB senior organiser, said: “Amazon Rugeley must be on of the most dangerous places to work in the country – our members are breaking bones, being electrocuted, knocked out unconscious and suffering major trauma.

“It’s inhuman – no one should have to leave work in an ambulance.

“Instead of facing the health and safety issues GMB has highlighted, Amazon bosses spend their time, effort and money focusing us off the site and threatening us for trespassing via expensive solicitors letters.

“Amazon is treating workers like robots – and GMB won’t stop fighting until Amazon bosses see sense and get round the table with us.”

A spokesperson for Amazon said: “Amazon has created in the UK more than 25,000 good jobs with a minimum of £9.50/hour and in the London area, £10.50/hour on top of industry-leading benefits and skills training opportunities.

“All of our sites are safe places to work and reports to the contrary are simply wrong.

“According to the UK Government’s Health and Safety Executive, Amazon has over 40% fewer injuries on average than other transportation and warehousing companies in the UK.

“We encourage everyone to compare our pay, benefits, and working conditions to others and come see for yourself on one of the public tours we offer every day at our centers across the UK uk.amazonfctours.com

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