A new poll reveals strong support for Unite’s campaign to secure trade union rights for directly employed Amazon workers and for workers in the gig economy, while firmly opposing Amazon’s anti-trade union tactics.
The poll of 2000 UK residents conducted by Survation also revealed that the public are now likely to view Amazon workers as “Key Workers” by a margin of 2:1 as a result of their work through the health crisis.
Almost half of respondents say they have changed their view of Amazon workers and now value them more than they did before the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic.
More than three quarters of respondents (76 per cent) believe Amazon workers should be able to join a trade union if they choose without interference from the company.
For workers indirectly employed in the “Gig economy” by Amazon, 74 per cent of the public believe Amazon also has a responsibility to provide them with fair working conditions.
Public opinion is in stark contrast to Amazon’s anti-trade union tactics. Amazon stops any attempts by workers to gain a collective voice of their own. It has failed to sign either the United Nations Global Compact or the Ethical Trading Initiative – bodies that recognise the right of all workers to a collective voice and are signed up to by most of the biggest names on the high street.
The union is now calling on Amazon’s Jeff Bezos to sign up to a ‘declaration of neutrality’, which includes commitments that recognise workers’ rights to unionise.
Unite executive officer Sharon Graham said, “Amazon workers have played a crucial part in people’s lives during the pandemic and the public expects fair employment practices and decent terms and conditions.
“Amazon attacks all attempts by workers to gain a collective voice of their own but it is now time for a new settlement,” she added. “The public strongly supports Amazon workers’ right to trade union representation regardless of whether the workers are directly employed or if they work in the gig economy.
“Unite is calling on Jeff Bezos to back a declaration which guarantees that Amazon workers have the freedom to talk with and form a union without fear,” Graham continued. “Our union is campaigning up and down the country. We are determined to win trade union rights for Amazon workers.”
Unite has a confidential whistle-blowing hotline which has opened in the UK & Ireland. Amazon workers can blow the whistle and expose poor treatment free from reprisals by calling 08000 14 14 61 in the UK or 1800 851 268 for the Republic of Ireland or by visiting our Action on Amazon hotline webpage here.
By Ciaran Naidoo