Exposed: fined Amazon drivers on less than minimum wage
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.”