GMB, the union for workers, has told the company’s new CEO he has an ‘historic opportunity’ to improve the working culture.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has announced he plans to step down as chief executive of the e-commerce giant that he started from scratch almost 30 years ago.
Mr Bezos, who has a fortune of nearly $200bn, will be replaced as Amazon CEO by Andy Jassy, who currently heads up Amazon’s wildly successful AWS cloud computing business.
While Amazon’s profits have soared under Jeff Bezos, warehouse workers in the UK have been forced to suffer what the GMB union have called “inhumane” working conditions. An investigation by GMB in 2018 found that ambulances were called out 600 times to 14 Amazon warehouses in just three financial years.
Now, the GMB has called on the incoming Amazon CEO to “transform” the working practices and culture within the online retail giant.
Laurence Turner, GMB Research and Policy Officer said: “A change in the face at the top isn’t enough – it is time for Amazon’s whole working culture to transform.
“While Amazon’s profits have soared, warehouse workers in the UK have been forced to suffer inhumane working conditions – breaking bones, being knocked unconscious and being taken away in ambulances in the company’s ruthless pursuit of cash.
“Amazon’s new CEO has a historic opportunity to draw a line under Jeff Bezos’s intense ideological hostility to unions, and instead make improving the conditions for workers a top priority.”
Mr Bezos has been at the helm of Amazon since launching it as an online bookshop from his garage in 1994. The firm now employs over 1 million people around the world.
Amazon saw its already explosive growth skyrocket last year, as the coronavirus pandemic led to a surge in online shopping.
The firm reported $386bn (£283bn) in sales in 2020, an increase of 38% from 2019, with profits almost doubling, rising to $21.3bn.
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