Journo goes undercover at Amazon Fulfilment Centre

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A Sunday Mirror reporter spent five weeks working at the Amazon fulfilment centre in Tilbury, Essex has written up his experiences in a piece called “Undercover at Amazon: Exhausted humans are inefficient so robots are taking over”. You can find the piece here.

Alan Shelby worked at Amazon in the run up to Black Friday and his piece does make for quite worrying reading. The article includes some of the undercover video footage he took at the site during his time there. He’s highly critical of the physical demands of the job, the stringent targets system and working conditions.

Shelby writes: “But Amazon has recognised humans are the least efficient part of the operation, so in Tilbury the robots take over. At every turn it felt like the human staff were reduced to livestock, existing only to service the machine. The repetitive, monotonous work at its ironically named “fulfilment centre” did me no favours mentally, either.”

It’s always interesting to read these experiences and there’s no doubt that these are physically demanding jobs that are never going to be either thrilling of particularly intellectually rewarding. And at £8.20 per hour it’s a fairly low paid job. But that’s also true of any number of similar jobs.

What is perhaps most interesting is how dedicated Amazon is to robots and automation and there is little doubt that they are investing heavily in technology and further automation.

Have you any experience working in an Amazon fulfilment centre? Does this report chime true?

8 Responses

  1. Well they are even going to replace the low paid 0 hour contract work with robots. It is a shocking indictment of our country these days. Amazon are just one of many very poor employers we have in this country these days. I actually feel guilty having stock in these places. You see the pressure in the drivers faces also they look totally drained. We are going backwards as a people all for instant gratification.

    Problem is look at the type of people we have running our country, people just do not care as long as they are OK.

    I was furious with my friend recently as he said his boy had just dropped out the Forces to go and work in one of the Amazon warehouses. The forces or Amazon is all we have around here for young ones these days. I chose the Army many years ago as my get out so I know what the boy is giving up for what to work for these people.

    My sister in law has known people who have worked for them and she refuses to buy from them, so much so I had to swap Amazon gift cards for Smyths ones this year for her kids.
    I think we have to look at ourselves for sending stock into Amazon, and maybe even buying from them.

  2. people moan about Amazon and yet click and buy their goods. They only survive because you buy from them….think about it

  3. My son works at Tilbury Amazon. He believes the reporter over emphasized the negatives that were highlighted, and tells me yes, its hard work, but many of the claims made were rubbish. He isnt on a zero hours contract, and yes, they have targets to achieve, but these arent impossible. Its hard work, but its not at minimum wage like many similar jobs.

  4. We seem to be seeing a drastic increase in this sort of thing being reported, and it really boils down to two things, 1) Pure greed 2) Management who claim they don’t know what’s going on, when in fact they probably do, but turn blind eye (because they think they can get away with it). Of course, all it takes is a stuck-up ars*hole bad manager, and that will make things 100x worse!

  5. Lol. I’m working on Amazon. Just about to earn nearly £2k for 3 weeks of work. They’re a fantastic company to work for. Don’t take any notice of these articles written by job snobs who’ve never performed a day’s hard graft in their lives!!

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