Amazon drivers ‘urinating into bottles’
AMAZON drivers are being asked to deliver up to 200 packages a day for less than minimum wage, with many urinating in plastic bottles in order to keep up with the delivery demand, a recent investigation reveals.
In addition to being unable to take breaks, some drivers claimed they often broke speed limits because the delivery goals didn't account for traffic, road or weather conditions.
However, Amazon has said that their routes are calculated using "sophisticated software" that takes into account traffic patterns and speed limits.
The allegations were brought to light by Sunday Mirror, with their investigation revealing that the drivers worked shifts that routinely exceeded the UK's maximum legal limit of 11 hours.
"Amazon sent an email to all managers to try to stop drivers carrying bottles filled with urine. The security guards were reporting people for it," one worker said.
"But the allocation and number of stops, and the volume to be distributed for any given day, lies entirely with Amazon."
Many of the drivers who spoke to the publication claimed they had no rights to holiday or sick pay.
Drivers said they were earning around $183 each day, while paying $356 a week for van hire and insurance, with one worker claiming to have taken home as little as $285 for a five-day work week after paying for van costs and fuel.
According to the publication, the Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency had vowed to investigate and a legal firm which led the case against taxi giant Uber was also representing seven drivers who said agencies used by Amazon were mistreating them.
The drivers are not directly employed by Amazon but through a number of different agencies that recruit drivers via an Amazon app.
An Amazon spokesman told the Sunday Mirror: "Over 100 businesses across the UK are providing work opportunities to thousands of people delivering parcels to customers. We are committed to ensuring that the people contracted by our independent delivery providers are fairly compensated, treated with respect, follow all applicable laws and driving regulations and drive safely.
"Our delivery providers are expected to ensure drivers receive a minimum £12 ($AU21.38) per hour before deductions and excluding bonuses, incentives and fuel reimbursements."
The spokesman added: "As independent contractors of our delivery providers, drivers deliver at their own pace, take breaks at their discretion, and are able to choose the suggested route or develop their own."
This is not the first time there have been reports of the poor working conditions Amazon drivers are faced with, with very similar allegations surfacing after a BBC reporter worked undercover at one of the company's depots for two weeks.
The report claimed a few drivers admitted urinating in a bottle because they didn't have time to find a toilet, while one claimed he once defecated in his van in order to meet crushing deadlines.
"On my first day delivering parcels for Amazon I soon found that things like tiredness and toilets aren't taken into account when Amazon plans its delivery routes," the reporter, "Chris", wrote.
"I tried to do the job as quickly as I could while keeping to the speed limit. I was considered very slow. Other drivers at the depot admitted to speeding. One driver said to get the job done, he had to go at 120mph down the motorway."
Amazon officially launched in Australia last week, following a rough start after a "soft launch" on Black Friday that left eager customers significantly underwhelmed.