Sunday, 3 Mar 2024

Amazon delivery driver lifts lid on nightmare at Christmas

Amazon delivery drivers have lifted the lid on the pressures of working over the Christmas period, with almost nine out of 10 branding the targets they face unmanageable, according to a survey published today. And 86 percent of those questioned fear the stress puts themselves and others at risk of harm – with one employee describing the experience as “horrendous”.

The research, published by law firm Leigh Day, paints a grim picture of overstretched employees who have “never a spare second to eat or drink”, “have to pee in bottles due to an ever increasing and unmanageable workload”, and are left “financially broken”.
 
Last month, hundreds of Amazon warehouse workers in Coventry walked out in protest against pay disputes, with similar strikes at Amazon warehouses across Europe. Amazon delivery drivers claim they are poorly paid and are being overworked, according to the survey, completed by 168 drivers between December 22, 2022 and January 2, 2023 to gain insight into working conditions over the festive period.
 
The results revealed that 97 percent have worked a full day without a break, with 67 percent reporting having to work a shift of more than 12 hours. Additionally, 43 percent reported working more than six consecutive days without a day off, and 64 percent claimed their pay did not cover cost of living.

The survey also asked how delivery drivers’ workload changed on Black Friday and throughout the Christmas period. A massive 97 percent said there was an increase in parcels from Black Friday onwards, and almost as many (95 percent) felt more pressured during this period. Additionally, 89 percent said the targets they are given during this period are unmanageable, with 86 percent claiming these targets and the conditions of their delivery job puts themselves or others at risk of harm.

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Leigh Day launched a group claim in 2021 against Amazon on behalf of its delivery drivers for back pay for unpaid holiday, the national minimum wage, and an employment contract. So far, 3,330 drivers have signed up. Leigh Day also has ongoing group action claims against Just Eat, Bolt, Veezu, and FREENOW.

One Amazon delivery driver said: “The work is horrendous because Amazon control everything you do. There were times I was out on delivery, and I’d stop for a few minutes, and they’d ring up and ask why I was parked up.

“The money I was earning wasn’t anywhere close to covering my rent and bills. In one week, I worked 36 hours over four days and I should have earned £464 but they gave me £2.74. It doesn’t sound believable but it’s true.

“I was very unhappy delivering for them. Effectively I was paying them to do their deliveries, rather than the other way around.”

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Kate Robinson, a solicitor in the Leigh Day employment team, said: “It is deeply concerning that the Amazon delivery drivers who completed our survey report experiencing unmanageable and potentially harmful circumstances during this period.

“They report that they are given extreme targets and subject to constant monitoring, and aren’t even fairly paid.

“Our group action legal claim is aimed at getting these delivery drivers the pay they deserve and create better working conditions, as well as holding Amazon to account.”

Read the full research here.

Express.co.uk has contacted Amazon for comment.

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