Coronavirus: Hundreds Of Amazon Staff Call In Sick In Covid-19 Protest

Amazon is reportedly facing mass protests among its workforce amid ongoing objections to working conditions and safety in its warehouses during the Coronavirus pandemic.

According to the Guardian newspaper, hundreds of Amazon workers in the United States will refuse to show up for work this week by calling in sick.

It comes after Amazon last week closed its warehouses in France, after a ruling by a French court that limits its ability to trade in that country. The French court ordered Amazon to limit deliveries to essential goods such as food and medical supplies during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Image credit: Amazon

Warehouse infections

Amazon has been facing criticism over the firing of staff members who have criticised cleaning in its warehouses that have reported cases of Covid-19.

Five US senators for example have written to Amazon chief Jeff Bezos demanding more information on the firing of Christian Smalls.

Smalls had alleged that Amazon had not properly cleansed the warehouse after an employee was struck down with Covid-19.

More than 130 Amazon-owned facilities in the US have confirmed cases of Covid-19, with some locations including multiple affected individuals.

Last month Amazon workers were told they would be able to take unlimited sick days in March, but only if they were diagnosed with Covid-19.

And Amazon began instituting anti-pandemic measures including taking the temperature of staff upon their arrival at work and spraying disinfectant.

It is also building its own coronavirus testing facility in order to monitor the health of its staff.

Staff unrest

But according to the Guardian, Amazon employees say company has failed to provide adequate safety measures and has refused paid sick leave.

Workers allege that Amazon has failed to provide enough face masks for workers, did not implement regular temperature checks it promised at warehouses, and has refused to give workers paid sick leave.

The Guardian reported that starting on Tuesday more than 300 Amazon employees have pledged to stay home from work, according to worker rights group United for Respect.

“We are calling out because Amazon is putting its revenue above our safety,” Jaylen Camp, an Amazon worker at a fulfillment center in Romulus, Michigan, and a member of United for Respect told the Guardian. “We are not essential to them – they just think of us as numbers and quotas. They are not protecting our health.”

Protesting employees say they will continue to call in sick until Amazon makes safety-related changes at warehouses.

The workers are calling on Amazon to “immediately close down” any facilities with Covid-19 cases and provide testing and two weeks of pay for workers during that time.

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Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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