Ahead of e-commerce giant Amazon’s “Prime Day” sale, the debates around working conditions in warehouses of the company, and other players in the field, have surfaced once again.
The issue was taken up by television host John Oliver in the latest episode of his show Last Week Tonight.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the warehousing and storage industry is considered to be even more dangerous than coal mining and construction industries. The episode (video above) explores the horrific conditions that the workers of warehouses are subjected to. A New York Times report from October 2018 had drawn attention to the incident of a woman dying of cardiac arrest in a warehouse, and how other workers were forced to continue operations while her body lay in the building.
Amazon is scheduled to host its “Prime Day” sale on July 15 and 16, which, according to Oliver, is “Black Friday in the middle of July”.
“Amazon has increased competitive pressure across the industry,” he said, commenting on the gruelling conditions in which warehouse workers have to operate. A typical ten-hour shift of an Amazon worker involves walking over 15 miles while picking up things that have been ordered by the company’s customers.
Although Amazon has done some good things like raising the minimum wages for its workers, the challenging conditions involving back-breaking labour and inadequate bathrooms breaks are just a few problems that have not been addressed.