Ex­posed: fined Ama­zon driv­ers on less than min­i­mum wage

The Sunday Telegraph - Money & Business - - Front page - By Ashley Arm­strong

AMA­ZON is de­mand­ing that one of its main gro­cery de­liv­ery part­ners rad­i­cally changes how it treats driv­ers af­ter

The Sun­day Tele­graph un­cov­ered a puni­tive regime that left many earn­ing less than the min­i­mum wage.

An in­ves­ti­ga­tion by The Tele­graph ex­posed a cat­a­logue of penal­ties that SEP Lo­gis­tics, which de­liv­ers Ama­zon’s Fresh and Prime Now goods across Lon­don, im­poses on em­ploy­ees, in­clud­ing a £100 fine for “early” de­liv­er­ies.

Driv­ers also face a se­ries of charges in­clud­ing £25 if they make a de­liv­ery two min­utes out­side a win­dow and a £25 “no-show” fine.

Work­ers are meant to re­ceive £12 an hour from SEP Lo­gis­tics but must also cover their van rental of be­tween £190 and £250 a week, weekly petrol costs of £30 and in­sur­ance for £330 a month. As a re­sult of the ex­ces­sive penal­ties SEP Lo­gis­tics hands out, driv­ers were of­ten earn­ing less than the min­i­mum wage.

Af­jal Gori, a for­mer SEP driver, said that he felt “ex­ploited”. He re­cently worked a 10-hour shift but would take home just £46 af­ter be­ing hit with a £100 charge. The na­tional min­i­mum wage is £7.50 per hour.

Mr Gori re­vealed that he had be­come “de­pressed” as he had not been able to af­ford to eat af­ter pay­ing for fuel. A sec­ond SEP Lo­gis­tics em­ployee, who wanted to re­main anony­mous, said there was “too much pres­sure”. He was also hit with £25 charges.

On Fri­day night, Ama­zon threat­ened to with­draw the con­tract from SEP un­less it stopped the prac­tice of fin­ing driv­ers, and the lo­gis­tics com­pany promised to re­fund all pre­vi­ous fines.

The on­line gi­ant has pledged to in­ves­ti­gate what it called “dis­re­spect­ful be­hav­iour”.

The Tele­graph has re­viewed mes­sages be­tween SEP and Mr Gori in which the de­liv­ery com­pany told the driver: “You are an id­iot … U (sic) have just done an early de­liv­ery and that means £100 fine.”

As a re­sult, Ama­zon has pledged to over­haul its au­dit of the com­pany’s lo­gis­tics providers. It re­lies on a net­work of 100 such com­pa­nies to cover the UK, rather than em­ploy­ing its own de­liv­ery driv­ers, to sup­port its rapid ex­pan­sion.

“We re­quire all de­liv­ery com­pa­nies work­ing on our be­half to meet our sup­plier code of con­duct re­quir­ing a re­spect­ful work en­vi­ron­ment and com­pet­i­tive pay,” said Ama­zon.

“We in­ves­ti­gate any al­le­ga­tion that a de­liv­ery provider is not meet­ing our re­quire­ments and will take ap­pro­pri­ate ac­tion if we find that to be the case.”

SEP Lo­gis­tics orig­i­nally de­fended the prac­tice. Work­ers were “mea­sured against cer­tain KPIS [key per­for­mance in­di­ca­tors]” and those “meet­ing ap­pro­pri­ate cri­te­ria are re­warded ac­cord­ingly,” it said.

But, 24 hours later, af­ter Ama­zon threat­ened to axe its con­tract, SEP Lo­gis­tics said it recog­nised this was a “flawed” pol­icy, had stopped de­liv­ery fines for driv­ers and would work to re­fund re­lated his­tor­i­cal fines.

It added: “We are con­duct­ing an in­ter­nal review of busi­ness prac­tices, in­clud­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tions with driv­ers, to make sure they are treated con­sid­er­ately.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.