Amidst the pandemic,when businesses have been struggling in almost every sector, the e-commerce businesses have flourished with the spurt in online shopping. Giants such as Amazon have been able to achieve their biggest profits since inception. However, it is ironic that the employees at Amazon have not received their benefits since the beginning of the pandemic, and hence, have come out in protest over the reductions.
The employees have been protesting at the doorstep of Jeff Bezos, CEO, Amazon — who is amongst the world’s richest people — over his failure to protect his employees and raising their voice against reduced benefits.
Amazon employees have been up in arms across the world, ever since the virus outbreak, drawing attention to the fact that the e-commerce giant has done little to keep its employees safe. Not only are they complaining of lack of PPE kits, but are dissatisfied with the compensation and benefits they are being doled out. They are accusing their employer of neglecting their safety and violating safety guidelines.
In June, the employees stopped getting wage increases and double overtime pay. The workers at the warehouses stopped receiving the hard pay of two dollars per hour and health benefits were also cut.
The discontented workers have started a movement called ‘Tax Bezos’ led by Chris Smalls, who was later fired from the Company.
While the e-commerce giant maintains that Smalls was fired for not maintaining social distancing norms, the protesters believe that by firing Smalls, the Company is retaliating against the employees for voicing their opinions and trying to discourage them from forming unions.
According to them, the company is retaliating against vocal employees to prevent them from forming unions.
Defending itself, Amazon has pointed out that it has acquired 100 million face masks for its workers in the last quarter; has hired 175,000 people since the virus outbreak; and spent nearly $700 million on employee benefits.
In April, over 300 Amazon warehouse workers participated in a protest, highlighting the lack of protection for its employees who continued to come to work amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The protestors have demanded that Amazon should immediately close down facilities where positive cases have been reported, and provide testing along with two weeks of pay to workers during that time.