EX­HAUSTED STAFF HANDED 7P Ama­zon saw your story & wanted to do some­thing to raise morale ..They gave us each two Cel­e­bra­tions

Sunday Mirror - - FRONT PAGE - BY ALAN SELBY

MISERLY Ama­zon bosses re­acted to the Sun­day Mir­ror’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion into its shock­ing work­ing con­di­tions – by giv­ing out tiny cho­co­lates.

Staff on gru­elling 10-and-a-half-hour shifts were given one Cel­e­bra­tion sweet in the first half of their day and an­other in the sec­ond half.

The bizarre ges­ture is re­vealed to­day by former em­ployee Neil Drinkwa­ter – who quit after his part­ner read our ex­posé and re­alised for the first time what he had been en­dur­ing.

We told last week of ex­hausted ware­house staff fall­ing asleep on their feet as they chased im­pos­si­ble tar­gets.

And the five-week in­ves­ti­ga­tion led to a wide­spread back­lash against the £7.3bil­lion-a-year on­line gi­ant.

Neil, 41, started at Ama­zon after los­ing his sales job when the con­struc­tion firm he worked for went bust.

He told us: “This week our man­agers started com­ing round with a box of Cel­e­bra­tions for the first part of the shift, and gave us a choco­late each.

IN­SULT

“Then they did the same at the sec­ond part of the shift. Me and my col­leagues were say­ing this was down to the Sun­day Mir­ror. We all thought it was an in­sult.”

Staff at Ama­zon’s “ful­fill­ment” cen­tres, where or­ders are put to­gether, packed and shipped, work up to 55 hours a week for £8.20 an hour.

Their boss, Amer­i­can Jeff Be­zos, 53, is the world’s rich­est man. Like Neil, he is a dad of four. Last year he made £2.2mil­lion an hour.

Neil, who had spent a month on nights at Ama­zon’s plant near Manch­ester, handed in his res­ig­na­tion after Wed­nes­day’s night shift.

He told how he asked a su­per­vi­sor whether Ama­zon had any plans to im­prove con­di­tions for work­ers.

Neil said: “I asked, ‘Did you read that ar­ti­cle in the Mir­ror?’ He said yes, and that they’d had feed­back off Ama­zon to say if any­one asks about it they should say they’re re­view­ing the tar­get sys­tem and their pro­ce­dures. “I said, ‘What do you think?’ and he said, ‘I think it’s dire. The way they work you guys is ter­ri­ble’.” But Neil said the man­ager told him that Ama­zon bosses are se­cretly hop­ing the scan­dal will sim­ply blow over. He said: “They told me the cho­co­lates were given out to try to raise spir­its, to get every­body on board. It’s a cou­ple of sweets per shift to get morale up and make them think they care about us. I found it quite in­sult­ing, to be hon­est.”

After five weeks un­der­cover our in­ves­ti­ga­tor told last week how “pick­ers” at Ama­zon’s new­est ware­house, in Til­bury, Es­sex, were given tar­gets of pro­cess­ing at least 300 or­dered items per hour. And we photographed “pack­ers” asleep at their sta­tions where, if they achieve 120 boxes an hour, they earn seven pence per box. Iron­i­cally, seven pence is also the cost of a Cel­e­bra­tion.

Staff at Til­bury re­ported that after our story small choco­late bars and free

Jeff Be­zos is worth $100bil­lion

SCAN­DAL Re­porter Alan, top, and his story

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