The announcement that Amazon will raise wages in the USA and UK shows that the company’s workers are starting to win the argument for fair treatment, says the ITF.
However, while this move is welcome, it has only been made after widespread criticism of Amazon’s employment model, and serious problems remain across the company’s transport supply chain – including in Australia.
Research by the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) shows that Amazon spends more on transport and logistics than most of the world’s largest transport companies. In addition to its warehouse operations, it directly runs van delivery and air freight services and uses a vast subcontracted trucking network, as well as moving huge volumes of goods through ocean shipping.
Although some workers will receive a pay rise as a result of these measures, they stop well short of creating a fair employment model that respects basic worker rights.
ITF General Secretary Stephen Cotton said: “All Amazon workers across the world deserve decent pay and conditions, and crucially the right to be represented at the negotiating table by independent unions. If Amazon was serious about reform it would make sweeping changes to its transport supply chain.
“That would mean overhauling the employment status of Amazon Flex drivers, who work under ‘pay per delivery’ contracts that are among the most precarious in the gig economy. It would mean enforcing a credible due-diligence system across its trucking supply chain to ensure that labour standards are upheld. And it would mean only using shipping lines covered by ITF agreements, as this is the only way to prevent labour violations at sea.
“Amazon has a long way to go until it can be considered a truly responsible employer. Along with our allies across the labour movement, transport unions worldwide will continue piling pressure on the company until that day arrives.”