Wednesday, 18 May, 2022
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Amazon apologises, finally admits some drivers have to urinate in bottles

US lawmaker Mark Pocan had accused Amazon of paying their workers just $15 per hour and forcing them to urinate in water bottles.

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New Delhi: E-commerce giant Amazon has apologised to a US lawmaker for falsely denying that some of its drivers are, at times, forced to urinate in plastic bottles.

The flap started 10 days ago with a tweet from Mark Pocan, Democratic Representative from Wisconsin.

“Paying workers $15/hr doesn’t make you a ‘progressive workplace’ when you union-bust & make workers urinate in water bottles,” Pocan tweeted, in an apparent reference to Amazon’s opposition to efforts to unionise a major facility in Alabama.

Amazon’s official account responded, saying: “You don’t really believe the peeing in bottles thing, do you? If that were true, nobody would work for us.”

However, social media users criticised Amazon’s response to the accusations.

In a statement late Friday, Amazon said: “This was an own-goal, we’re unhappy about it, and we owe an apology to Representative Pocan.”

It further stated that “the tweet was incorrect” and “it did not contemplate our large driver population and instead wrongly focused only on our fulfillment centers”.

Later, Pocan suggested Amazon’s apology was not enough.

“This is not about me, this is about your workers who you don’t treat with enough respect or dignity,” he said.

“Start by acknowledging the inadequate working conditions you’ve created for ALL your workers, then fix that for everyone & finally, let them unionize without interference.”

Amazon says will look for solutions

Amazon said the issue was industry-wide and it would look for solutions, without specifying what these might be.

The apology comes at a time when workers at an Alabama warehouse are waiting for a vote count that could result in the online retailer’s first unionised facility in the US and mark a watershed moment for the organised labour.

Amazon has successfully fended off unionisation efforts elsewhere in the US, though most of its facilities in Europe are unionised.

The company insists its workers enjoy good pay and benefits by US standards.

Also read: Amazon to pay Flex drivers $61.7 million after US trade body finds company had withheld tips


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