Bezos Earns More in One Second than Amazon Worker Makes in Two Months

Peter Lazenby

Morning Star | December 18, 2020

AMAZON boss Jeff Bezos is paid more for one second than his warehouse workers earn in two months, analysis by the TUC revealed today.

The research shows that it would take an Amazon warehouse worker, typically on £9.50 an hour, more than eight weeks – or 284 hours based on a 35-hour week – to make what their chief executive pockets in a single second – estimated at roughly £2,700.

Mr Bezos is now paid over one million times more than the workers who create Amazon’s profits, according to the figures.

Despite creating huge profits, workers at Amazon complain that the internet retail giant subjects them to gruelling working conditions, unrealistic productivity targets, security surveillance and bogus self-employment, while refusing to recognise or engage with unions unless forced to do so, said the TUC.

General union GMB, which is campaigning to unionise Amazon’s warehouses, says that working conditions are shocking and unsafe.

Between 2015 and 2018, ambulances were called 600 times to 14 Amazon warehouses in Britain after workers collapsed in the unsafe, high-pressure working environment, GMB said.

The TUC is pressing ministers to bring forward long-awaited legislation to clamp down on poor working practices in companies such as Amazon, while also strengthening trade unions and collective bargaining.

It wants unions to be allowed into every workplace, a ban on zero-hours contracts, stronger laws to protect supply-chain workers’ rights and an end to bogus self-employment.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Amazon’s bumper profits mean Christmas has come early for Jeff Bezos. Yet many of his staff continue to work in gruelling, exploitative conditions.

“Amazon workers have played a key role during this pandemic. The very least they deserve is dignity at work.

“If the government is serious about levelling up Britain, it needs to start by levelling up pay and conditions.

“Ministers must get on with bringing forward the long-awaited Employment Bill to end exploitative working practices like zero-hours contracts and boost rights and pay.“

GMB national officer Mick Rix said: “If Jeff Bezos paid every Amazon worker in the UK £78,000 for Christmas, he’d still be as rich as he was before the pandemic.”

Earlier this year, the TUC called on the government to use its purchasing power to stand up to Amazon on workers’ rights, revealing that up to £630 million of taxpayers’ money was spent on contracts with the firm in recent years.

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