Amazon rewards punctual staff with £50 a week for showing up

By Monica Athnasious

Published Sep 6, 2021 at 11:17 AM

Reading time: 1 minute

Amazon has announced a new incentive for punctuality in its staff: a £50 reward simply for showing up. However, in typical Amazon fashion, the supposed bonus comes with some tiring conditions. Something kind from Amazon? Sounds too good to be true, right? And it is.

From low wages, blocking unionisation, outright firing people to even racial discrimination and sexual harassment, Amazon’s abysmal treatment of its workers is unfortunately well documented. This new proposal seems to be yet another in the long line of surface-level implementations to improve working conditions for the shopping giant’s staff. To put it simply, it’s obviously not good enough.

The £50 reward, available to UK staff at select Amazon locations in Durham and Gateshead, is not just for showing up on time but requires 100 per cent attendance for all arranged shifts (excluding sick days and time taken off related to COVID-19 or disability). The bonus would be given weekly. This proposal comes after a recent pledge from the company to offer £1,000 joining bonuses to new workers in the midst of the UK’s unemployment crisis.

A spokesperson for Amazon stated that “we are currently offering an attendance bonus at a number of locations to permanent associates to support our summer demand and help us prepare for the festive season ahead.”

£50 per week on the basis of 100 per cent attendance is a terrible and archaic expectation. Despite having its most lucrative year to date in 2020, Amazon seems unwilling to cough up the dough it so obviously has in order to raise wages entirely. After stories of its maltreatment of its staff surfaced in the UK, news of blocking US workers from creating unions and reports of spying on its employees, UK’s Unite union declared that the shopping giant’s employees should be able to form unions “without fear.”

Unite previously described the working conditions of UK Amazon branches earlier this year as “Charles Dickens meets 21st century Britain.”

Sharon Graham, Unite’s executive officer, wrote to Jeff Bezos in a letter demanding his signature on a declaration that would protect UK and Irish staffs’ right to unionisation. “Although we do have members in Amazon, workers in your company are not currently free to join a union without fear and without obstruction and propaganda being deployed against them,” Graham wrote.

Instead of a weekly £50, raise their wages, let your workers unionise and treat them like human beings. The ball is in your court, Amazon…

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