November 26, 2021


Amazon has called the police on two Transport Workers’ Union officials investigating suspected serious safety breaches on Black Friday, in a move the union says shows the company’s contempt for Australian workplace safety laws.

Despite initially allowing them to enter the premises, management at an AmazonFlex site in Bella Vista in Western Sydney later called the police to have the officials removed. Police allowed the officials to remain on-site, noting they possessed and had provided legal right of entry documentation.

TWU officials were investigating reports of dangerous overloading of vehicles with workers pressured to accept the parcels to avoid disciplinary action or termination. While on site, the officials witnessed cars being overloaded, blocking mirror vision and creating blind spots.

Workers delivering parcels for AmazonFlex have next to no workplace rights, with the company’s sham contracting arrangements deliberately placing them outside workplace laws. Drivers have been reported being sacked on a whim without rights of appeal, denied compensation for work taken outside of four-hour work blocks, and dealing with serious overloading.

TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said Amazon was denying union access to its sites to cover up its deadly business model.

“Calling the police on union officials investigating serious safety breaches is a disgrace. On Black Friday of all days – a day when transport workers are dealing with extraordinary pressure – Amazon’s confirmed what we’ve always known: raking in deadly profit is more important to them than keeping workers safe.

“This anti-worker pattern of behaviour will only make transport more deadly, and our roads less safe for workers and the community.

“Amazon’s wilfully breaking workplace safety laws and the Federal Government is nowhere to seen. Scott Morrison’s refused to lift a finger as ‘The Amazon Effect’ has smashed good jobs and sent safety standards plummeting.

Transport workers deserve a Federal body to urgently lift safety standards and haul these behemoths into line”.

In May 2020, Amazon on two occasions called the police on TWU officials seeking to access to an AmazonFlex site in Moore Park.

Amazon has a terrible track record when it comes to respecting its workers. Earlier this week, the union representing warehousing workers – the SDA – slammed plans by Amazon to increase worker surveillance by rolling out a bracelet-like device that can vibrate to alert workers when items have been processed correctly.

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