Many constituents have contacted me this month about the working conditions of Amazon delivery drivers. These conditions are dangerous, exploitative and degrading. Amazon must urgently ensure safe working conditions and provide its drivers with employment rights and protections.
I share concerns at reports that 82% of Amazon drivers say they have had to drive dangerously to reach delivery targets and of the pressure couriers feel under to deliver sometimes as many as 300 parcels a day – a 100% increase on pre-pandemic levels for many drivers. That this comes in the wake of the tragic death of 21-year-old Bogdan Chirita, who died in a traffic collision while out delivering Amazon parcels only deepens my concern. Safety must always come before delivery targets. A company must not be able to build profits on the back of putting workers and the public at risk.
As key workers, delivery drivers have played a crucial role in keeping the country running throughout the pandemic. Yet not only have they been forced to work under unsafe and degrading conditions – including having to drive while exhausted from long shifts without rest breaks and having to urinate in bottles – they have also not been recognised by Amazon as workers, but instead classed as self-employed. This means they are denied basic employment rights and protections.
The Shadow Employment Rights Secretary and Shadow Business Secretary have written to Amazon’s UK country manager to call for Amazon to ensure safe working conditions for its drivers and give them the employment protections that are glaringly absent at present. You can see the full letter here.
I support these calls and have also written to Amazon about this matter.