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GMB Asbo for Amazon

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

GMB Asbo protest on 13th Feb at Amazon Doncaster, Glenrothes, Gourock, Hemel Hempstead, Milton Keynes, Peterborough, Rugeley, Swansea and Slough over not paying tax and poor conditions for staff.

GMB want to bring Amazon to book so that they pay a living wage and to concede the rights of their employees to belong to GMB and have collective bargaining for pay and conditions.

On Wednesday 13th February GMB will protest with anti- social behavioural orders (ASBO's) at nine workplaces in protest at Amazon’s failure to pay proper taxes and a living wage of £7.45 per hour to their employees and denial of their rights to union representation and collective bargaining.

Amazon has paid no corporation tax in the UK for the last three years although they had sales of more than £7billion in the UK. Amazon is able to avoid taxes, including some VAT, by driving sales through a European head office in Luxembourg.

The details of the GMB protests are as follows (see notes to editors for addresses):

At 10.00am Wednesday 13 Feb 2013
Outside Amazon locations
Doncaster, Glenrothes,
Gourock, Hemel Hemstead,
Peterborough, Milton Keynes, Rugeley,
Swansea and Slough HQ

GMB members will protest by presenting ASBO's at these locations with messages 'Pay your tax: public are fed up subsidising Amazon” and “Pay a living wage”. They will invite Amazon staff to join GMB.

It is not clear how many of the 15,000 staff the company claim to employ in the UK are employed directly by Amazon and in permanent full time jobs. Many GMB members working for the company are employed by Randstad an employment agency in casual or temporary jobs with no job security and no guaranteed incomes.

Amazon pay its staff as little as £6.20 per hour – just above the national minimum wage of £6.19 per hour. Staff complain to GMB about a culture of bullying and harassment endemic in the dataveillance that comes from staff being required to wear digital arm mounted terminals (AMTs) with no agreed protocols re breaks, speeds etc. Union activity has to be kept underground for fear of reprisals.

Paul Clarke GMB National Organiser said "The high tech way Amazon process orders and tracks inventory disguises that it is also a traditional labour intensive mail order retail business.

It relies on a road network funded by taxpayers for the business to business delivery of products to warehouses and for the business to customer delivery to private homes. It relies on large numbers of staff to receive the goods, to pick and pack them to meet customer orders.

Where it differs from other retailers is its refusal to pay proper taxes or to treat its workers properly. Profitable companies like Amazon dodging fair taxes while failing to pay their staff a living wage and treat them properly deserve a corporate ASBO.

This gives Amazon an unfair competitive advantage and is part of the reason why so many established high street names are going to the wall.

GMB plan to strip away the high tech image and expose the exploitation involved in their business model.

Amazon uses Randstad employment agency to meet fluctuating demand for labour which is equivalent to selection at the dock gates in Victorian times and is casual labour of the worst kind. See notes to editors for information on Randstad.

Paying a minimum wage rather than a living wage obliges taxpayers top up wages for staff with families and is a subsidy to a company paying no corporation taxes.

Requiring employees to wear AMTs and subjecting them to dataveillance, while denying them union rights, takes away the consent essential for the positive use of digital arm-band devices. Members say it is human automation – they are kind of robots with no say.

HMRC should throw the book at Amazon and make them pay proper taxes. GMB estimates that tax dodging by companies such as Amazon, Starbucks, Google and others costs us all over £25 billion a year - two thirds of the deficit.

GMB want to bring Amazon to book so that they pay a living wage and to concede the rights of their employees to belong to GMB and have collective bargaining for pay and conditions.

GMB members at the company say that the name Amazon has become a dirty word among their friends and family and Amazon are now swimming against the tide of public sentiment.

While it is a jungle out there and whilst everyone wants goods as cheap as possible it is now beginning to dawn on people the consequences of buying from tax dodging companies who treat their staff so badly."

Ends

Contact: National Paul Clarke 07713 077 193 or David Shamma on 07966 327 980 for Peterborough, or Richard Owen on 07974 179 285 for Milton Keynes & Hemel Hempstead or Samanta Jones on 0121 550 4888 for Rugeley, or Althea Phillips on 07980 753 125 for Swansea, or Mick Conroy 07921 289 737 for Glenrothes and Gourock, or Rachel Harrison 07539 061 702 for Doncaster or 07813 207 374 Kevin Brandstatter for Slough HQ

Notes to Editors

1) Addresses of Amazon locations

Slough HQ
Patriot Court
1-9 The Grove
Slough
Berkshire SL1 1QP

Dunfermline Fulfilment Centre (EDI4) – ex Glenrothes
Amazon Way
Dunfermline KY11 8ST

Hemel Hempstead Fulfilment Centre
Mammoth in Boundary Way
Hemel Hempstead
Hertfordshire
HP27LF

Marston Gate Fulfilment Centre
Off Station Road
Ridgmont
Near Milton Keynes
Bedfordshire MK43 0ZA

Swansea Fulfilment Centre
Ffordd Amazon
Crymlyn Burrows
Swansea
SA1 8QX

Gourock
2 Cloch Road
Faulds Park
Gourock
InverclydePA19 1BQ

Peterborough
Phase Two, Kingston Park
Flaxley Road
Peterborough PE2 9EN

Doncaster
Firstpoint Business Park
Balby Carr Bank
Doncaster DN4 5JS

Rugeley
Towers Business Park
Power Station Road
Rugeley WS15 1LX

2) some information on Randstad employment agency:

UK operates under Randstad UK Holding Ltd, a recruitment agency. Randstad Employment Bureau Ltd has a turnover of £249.3m with an operating profit of £6.4m. Directors are Jacobus Van Den Broek, Mark Bull and Joost Gietelink

The overall parent company is Dutch, Randstad Holding NV with the next layer down, Randstad Holding Luxembourg SARL being based in Luxembourg. The overall company has a turnover of €16,224,900,000.

It’s the second largest HR services company with 6% of global market share, after Adecco with 7%.

Founded in 1960 it now operates in over 40 countries. Employees 28,700 people directly in 4,711 branches and employing over 576,000 people every day.

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