Watch here (iplayer link for UK): http://www.bbc.co.uk/i/b03k5kzp/
BBC Panorama investigates working conditions at Amazon UK
“It’s the online retailer that has transformed the way we shop, but how does Amazon treat the workers who retrieve our orders? Working conditions in the company’s giant warehouses have been condemned by unions as among the worst in Britain. Panorama goes undercover to find out what happens after we fill our online shopping basket.”
Daily Telegraph: Amazon workers could face an increased risk of “mental and physical illness”, experts have claimed after seeing undercover recordings of working conditions.
Night shifts at the retail giant’s warehouse can involve up to 11 miles of walking as staff are expected to collect orders every 33 seconds, it was alleged as the company prepare to take on 15,000 extra staff for Christmas.
Professor Michael Marmot, one of Britain’s leading experts on stress at work, was shown the secret films made for the BBC’s Panorama programme and said that the shifts combined “all the bad stuff at once”.
Professor Marmot said: “The characteristics of this type of job, the evidence shows increased risk of mental illness and physical illness.
“There are always going to be menial jobs, but we can make them better or worse. And it seems to me the demands of efficiency at the cost of individual’s health and well-being – it’s got to be balanced.”
Adam Littler, an undercover reporter, got an agency job as a at Amazon’s Swansea warehouse and took a hidden camera to work with him.
His job involved fetching orders from the 800,000 square foot storage room, guided by a handset with allowed him a set number of seconds to collect each item and counted down – bleeping if he made a mistake.
The scanner also tracked the worker’s picking rate and informed bosses of his performance, leaving them open to disciplinary action.
“We are machines, we are robots, we plug our scanner in, we’re holding it, but we might as well be plugging it into ourselves”, the 23-year-old said.