While welcoming today’s announcement that Amazon would create 500 new permanent jobs in its network over the next year the Alliance said the company needed to go much further.
SDA NSW Branch Secretary Bernie Smith said “Amazon has relied on a workforce that is 100% comprised of labour hire employees. These workers are deprived of important workplace rights like annual and sick leave and face both insecure employment and underemployment.”
“Amazon have been operating in Australia for long enough. If they wish to be a responsible corporate citizen in this country, they owe it to their employees, not just in Victoria but in NSW and right across the country, to provide permanent employment for all of their workers.”
“Additionally, Amazon must publicly state that it recognises the legitimate right of its employees to join their relevant unions, the SDA and the TWU.”
“What we are hearing about working conditions inside Amazon in Australia is disgraceful. Workers unable to take toilet breaks, unable to raise concerns about the amount of work they are expected to carry out, refused secure work, kept on a drip-feed of erratic hours and shifts and sacked for daring to ask for more hours so they can support their families,” said TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine.
“This business model is being imported into Australia right under the nose of our Federal Government which is letting yet another multinational tech giant to exploit our ineffective industrial relations systems. The rules are clearly broken and need to be changed immediately,” Kaine added.
Mr Smith said that today’s announcement came while the SDA prepared to defend a former Amazon worker employed as an insecure labour hire employee of Adecco, who was sacked by the company after requesting more hours and exercising his legal right to join his union. The case is before the Federal Court next week.
“The manner in which Raj was treated by Amazon’s labour hire practice has been absolutely appalling.”
“His case demonstrates the injustice of the labour hire system, and the heavy handedness with which Amazon and its labour hire agents can treat the people who work for them. Frankly, it is unacceptable, and it must change.”
“That’s why just three months ago, the SDA and TWU joined forces to create the Online Retail and Delivery Workers Alliance, to fight for a better deal for Amazon workers such as Raj.”
Mr Smith said the SDA and the TWU look forward to now meeting with and directly engaging with Amazon.