Andy McDonald responds to reports that 82% of Amazon drivers say they have to drive dangerously to reach their delivery targets
Andy McDonald MP, Labour’s Shadow Employment Rights and Protections Secretary, responding to reports that 82% of Amazon drivers say they have to drive dangerously to reach their delivery targets, said:
“The results of this investigation are extremely concerning. Safety must absolutely always come first – before delivery targets and before profit.
“The success and competitiveness of a company cannot be built on the back of cutting safety standards, putting workers and the public at risk.
“Amazon must urgently ensure that targets are set at a safe level and provide those drivers with basic employment rights and protections.”
Notes to Editors
Letter to John Boumphrey UK Country Manager for Amazon from Ed Miliband and Andy McDonald
Dear Mr Boumphrey,
We are writing to you regarding the working conditions of Amazon delivery drivers.
As you will be aware, last night (01.04.2021) Newsnight ran a story on the working conditions of Amazon deliver drivers following the tragic death of Bogdan Chirita, who was 21 years old when he was killed while out delivering Amazon parcels.
The report brought to light that Amazon delivery drivers believe they are being subjected to unsafe and degrading working conditions. Survey responses from Amazon delivery drivers revealed that it has become common practice for them to break the law and take risks to meet targets of delivering as many as 300 parcels in a day, which represents a 100% increase in deliveries for many drivers on pre-pandemic levels.
Drivers described how they are put under such pressure to meet these targets and that this in turn causes them to drive dangerously to meet Amazon’s delivery targets, including driving while exhausted, driving with parcels obscuring their vision, breaking the speed limit, parking unsafely and ignoring other safety rules. Drivers report that if they do not meet their delivery targets, they risk losing their day’s pay or losing their job. In addition to this unlawful and dangerous behaviour, drivers report degrading working conditions. The targets mean that drivers are reporting exhaustion from working long shifts with no rest breaks and having to urinate in bottles.
These are extremely serious allegations. Delivery drives are important key workers who have kept the country running throughout the pandemic and have contributed to colossal profits for Amazon over the same period. It is grossly unfair that these drivers should be made to undertake what they see as dangerous and degrading work or face a loss of income or lose their livelihood.
Amazon drivers are not recognised as workers and are therefore denied basic employment rights and protections. This only exacerbates our concern as they seem to make it possible for Amazon to distance itself from its responsibilities to its workforce.
We ask that you personally look into the situation and that you explain how you will ensure that targets are set at a safe level and provide those drivers with decent terms and conditions and the associated protections that are so glaringly absent in the current arrangements.
We look forward to your response.
Andy McDonald MP, Shadow Secretary for Employment Rights and Protections
Ed Miliband MP, Shadow Secretary for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy