Amazon slammed over worker monitoring

Online retail giant Amazon has been criticised for 'misleading' MPs over worker monitoring.

18 Nov 2022| News

Giving evidence to a Business Select Committee on 15 November, Brian Palmer, an Amazon policy chief, repeatedly said surveillance of workers was not the ‘primary focus’ of their monitoring systems.

But committee chair Darren Jones asked Palmer, the Amazon head of public policy for Europe, why an older constituent was let go by the company after “the system said he wasn’t being productive enough.” The MP asked:

“Do you track then productivity of your workers in the warehouses? Yes or no?” Mr Palmer responded: “Yes”.

GMB head of research Laurence Turner commented:

“GMB members in Amazon have said for years that constant monitoring and punishing targets are leading to injuries and making many lives a misery. Now the company has finally admitted the problem, it’s time to address it.”

He added:

“Amazon’s misleading account of workers’ treatment rightly fell apart today. Amazon’s attempt to convince MPs that its aggressive monitoring was mainly used to track goods, ultimately Mr Palmer was forced to admit it is, in fact, used to track staff.

But they can’t do this on their own. It’s time for the company to get round the table with GMB Union so we can work together to make Amazon as safe and happy place to work.”

You can watch the full Parliamentary Select Committee session here.

Details of the Post-pandemic economic growth: UK labour markets inquiry can be found here.