We’ve all heard about Amazon’s churn and burn work culture where warehouse employees are forced to push their human working capacity in order to fulfill a growing number of orders.
Now, a new report has surfaced with a thundering accusation that the company discourages its employees from taking bathroom breaks. Due to fear of punishment and an overwhelming shortage of toilets in the 700,000 square foot warehouse, occupied by over 1,200 employees, workers are forced to pee in bottles.
2 Toilets for a Staff of 1,200
It’s another day and another story about Amazon’s blatant disregard for human dignity and how billionaire Jeff Bezos is compromising his workers’ wellbeing to rake in as much profit as possible.
This time, the accusation doesn’t come from hundreds of people who worked at Amazon’s warehouses and quit within no time due to grueling 55-hour workweeks and terrible working conditions, but an undercover reporter named James Bloodworth who applied for the job to see how the e-commerce workers are treated in the U.K. warehouse.
Bloodworth said that getting to the toilet in a four-storied warehouse that spanned over 700,000 square feet was not easy by any means. For 1,200 employees working in the building, there were only 2 bathrooms on the ground floor and depending on which part of the warehouse the workers were stationed, a trip to the loo could take up to 10 minutes on foot.
The reporter also claimed that the workers were constantly monitored for time-wasting which is why most of them chose to pee in bottles to avoid being punished over ‘idle time’. Many feared that taking bathroom breaks could even cost them their jobs. Bloodworth said that the company is so consumed with making profits, that it refuses to grant its employees their basic necessities or human dignity.
According to the reporter, workers were required to log in 10 miles of walking on the job every day. Bloodworth isn’t the only one to speak up against Amazon’s brutal work culture. Other workers have confirmed that they avoid using bathroom due to fear of disciplinary action that could cost them their jobs.
The revelation was made in a survey by Organise, a labor group, where 74 percent of the fulfillment employees believed that the company’s disciplinary policy discourages most workers from going to the bathroom.
The survey revealed concerning consequences of working in a tough environment like Amazon’s with more than 55 percent of the fulfillment employees admitting to suffering from depression and anxiety ever since they started working at the warehouse.
Another undercover reporter Alan Selby blew the lid off Amazon’s atrocious working conditions when he reported to The Mirror that workers were told to stand on their feet for entire 10 hours of their daily shifts with only two half-hour breaks in between. Selby said that he had witnessed many of the workers collapse on the floor due to fatigue or have panic attacks due to work stress.
High Injury Risk
Workers have also reported that conditions inside the warehouse can be extremely dangerous increasing the risk of injury. In 2012, Seattle Time published an article claiming that the company discouraged employees from seeking medical care from outside to avoid action from Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Many of those who were injured on shift were either slowly phased out of the company or fired without adequate compensation.
Workers have also complained about unbearable temperatures inside the warehouses in the past. In Pennsylvania-based Amazon warehouse, employees would often faint or become dizzy due to dehydration, after the temperatures climbed up to 100 degrees.
Ambulances were parked outside the warehouse to handle any medical emergencies and drive collapsed workers to the hospital.
Amazon has completely isolated itself from all workplace liabilities or backlash from worker unions by relying on staffing agencies to outsource temporary employees, which helps the company keep its labor costs down.
Workers often complain that the warehouse’s management system is chaotic since the company is unable to retain any of its managers and factors like unpredictable work schedules and late payments are driving the company’s high turnover rates.