Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 27 November 2013

TV review: Amazon's exploitation exposed

Ronnie Job

The conditions revealed in Panorama's exposť on working conditions in Swansea Amazon came as no surprise to Socialist Party members.

I submitted an article to the Socialist in September, based on the experiences of an agency worker employed by Amazon over the Christmas period.

The programme concentrated on the physical strain, with the 'picker' the BBC placed in the site having to walk up to eleven miles on a night shift.

It also exposed the mental strain of constantly trying to meet targets which, for many of the workers spoken to, seemed barely possible.

Targets took no account of different distances of items to be picked. Sometimes automated lights failed, leaving the picker trying to find items in the dark.

'Disciplinary points'

As we pointed out in the Socialist, 'points mean P45s' with workers picking up disciplinary points for sickness, errors and failing to meet the impossible targets.

With Amazon taking on 1,500 workers in Swansea and 15,000 across the UK for the Christmas period, workers are told that only those with the best records stand a chance of being kept on after Christmas.

Expert legal opinion on Panorama even challenged whether the length of the shift filmed, with such constant mental and physical strain, is within the law.

The programme answered one of the questions we posed in September about the level of support from the Welsh Government given to Amazon in order to bring their brand of exploitation to Wales. Amazon received a grant of £8.8 million towards the cost of the Swansea warehouse.


There was also the construction of the Ffordd Amazon access road with, according to Panorama, £4.9 million of Welsh Government funding.

Amazon, a company that pays little or no tax in the UK, is being heavily subsidised by politicians of all mainstream parties.

The appalling conditions at Amazon are definitely connected to the lack of union organisation and involvement in health and safety.

The programme interviewed GMB union general secretary, Paul Kenny, who was damning about conditions but failed to outline a strategy for unionising the workforce.

Swansea Socialist Party members have been contacted by student activists in the city who are already collecting stories of students who've worked in Amazon on the same sort of casual conditions exposed last night. They are discussing organising a protest outside Amazon over the Christmas period.

Amazon's practices need to be exposed but what is desperately needed is for the workers to be organised in a union.

In order for casual workers to be inspired to join a union, they have to be convinced that whichever union aims to recruit there has a strategy and the determination to take Amazon on.

Victories can be won over casualisation by aggressive bosses - just look at the victories won by Hovis workers, organised by the BFAWU. That's what is needed at Amazon now!

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 27 November 2013:

Socialist Party youth and students

No recovery for Britain's young people

Will angry youth turn to Labour?

NUS NEC votes to support education workers strike

Referendum victory for York housing campaign

Socialist Party news and analysis

We need a real living wage!

Nothing achieved by UN climate talks

Flower power - downfall of a banking boss

UK governments approved secret mass surveillance

Them & Us

International socialist news and analysis

Europe - centre of capitalist crisis

Iran nuclear deal reflects changed world relations

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

Councillors: Say no to Tory cuts!

TUSC byelection candidates show cuts aren't necessary

Socialist Party workplace news

End the pay freeze: A united fight in post-16 education

Massive campaign planned against Underground cuts

Hull city council unions force cuts climb-down

Anti-blacklisting campaign will not go away

NUT election: Support for national action call

Criminal justice: More privatisation problems

Workplace news in brief

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Southampton: Labour flies the white flag in face of call to fight back

Brazilian socialist councillor speaks in Britain

Bristol: Art and Revolution

Socialist Party review

TV review: Amazon's exploitation exposed


Home   |   The Socialist 27 November 2013   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   PDF  |   ebook

Related links:


trianglePowerful picture of the Port Talbot steel workers' struggle

triangleSocialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea

triangleSwansea Socialist Party: Art and Revolution

triangleSwansea Socialist Party: Mother Jones - A US labour pioneer

triangleSwansea Socialist Party: Spanish revolution 1936-37


triangleSupport the Crossrail Woolwich walkout

triangleSix months on - still no justice for Grenfell

triangleRetail sector crunch: nationalise to save jobs

triangleStrikers rally in Liverpool


triangleBirmingham Central Socialist Party: The rise of Militant - lessons from our history

triangle110 years ago: massacre at Santa Maria school in Chile - commemorate 21 December 1907

triangleThe Socialist's 2017 quiz


triangleTrump's incendiary Jerusalem statement reignites Israeli-Palestinian conflict

triangleMovement growing against fracking giant Ineos

Reviews and comments

Reviews and comments


The Socialist

The Socialist's 2017 quiz



The Socialist Inbox



Comment: Socialism and truth about Zane


Labour Party

Blairite horror and Labour's divisions graphically exposed



Dramatic retelling of Grunwick strike


Working class

Left comic's take on politics will have you in tears



The Socialist inbox


The Socialist

The Socialist Inbox



TV review: Abortion on Trial - hard-hitting look at impact of 1967 act


Vietnam war

Comprehensive account of bloody conflict



The Socialist inbox



Obituary: Paul Randall, 1959-2017



Welsh update of Chekhov an engrossing tale of 1980s class conflict



The Socialist inbox



The Socialist inbox

triangleMore Reviews and comments articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle16 Dec Blairite council 'all ears' to rich property developers

triangle16 Dec Arriva bus drivers' action wins pay rise

triangle14 Dec Stop the rotten redevelopment plan, demand residents

triangle13 Dec Six months on - still no justice for Grenfell

triangle13 Dec Movement growing against fracking giant Ineos

triangle13 Dec Totnes MP uses coffin controversy to distract from brutal NHS cuts

triangle13 Dec Trump's incendiary Jerusalem statement reignites Israeli-Palestinian...

More ...

triangle18 Dec Leeds Socialist Party: Religion and Socialism

triangle19 Dec Bristol North Socialist Party: Christmas social

triangle21 Dec Wakefield Socialist Party: Socialists and the National Question

triangle6 Jan Socialist Party national women's meeting

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017





















Platform setting: = No platform choice