NEW POLL ON AMAZON PRIME DAY: Amazon workers are key workers and should have trade union rights says public
- Monday 21 June 2021
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 (see notes to editors).
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%) 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 (see notes to editors).
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. 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. 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 visiting https://actiononamazon.org/hotline/.
For more information contact: Ciaran Naidoo on 07768 931 315
Notes to editors;
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.
Public likely to view Amazon workers as “key workers” during the pandemic, and are valued more by the public than prior to the coronavirus outbreak:
- More than half of respondents (58%) would term Amazon workers as key workers (less than a third - 29% would not) as a result of considering their role during the pandemic.
- The pandemic has made people value Amazon workers more than they did before, with almost half (46%) of respondents saying they have changed their view and now value these workers more than prior when considering drivers and delivery workers and 41% when considering Amazon Warehouse and fulfilment workers.
High levels of public support for trade union recognition and fair work practices for direct and indirect Amazon workers:
- More than three quarters of respondents (76%) believe that Amazon workers should be able to join a trade union if they choose without interference from the company. Similar figures (73%, 72%) find that Amazon should be legally required to recognise and engage with trade unions that represent their workers and that Amazon should be obliged to allow union representatives reasonable access to meet with workers they represent.
- Amazon employs many workers indirectly as part of the “gig” economy and around three quarters of respondents (74%) thought that Amazon has a responsibility as an employer to those workers to provide them with fair working conditions, 16% thought Amazon did not have a responsibility toward indirectly employed workers.
Public support Amazon being blocked from Government contracts unless the company provides effective trade union recognition and fair work practices:
- There is significant support for measures that would make Amazon a fairer employer. 68% support the UK government ensuring that companies which are awarded government contracts have effective trade union recognition (just 5% were opposed). 64% of those who voted Conservative in 2019 support this proposal. 75% of those who voted Labour support this proposal.
- 77% supported the proposal that the government should only be able to grant contracts to companies that commit to fair work practices, such as trade union recognition, training, fair pay, and inclusion (4% were opposed). 79% of those who voted Conservative also support this idea, with the same percentage of those who voted for Labour voicing their support for these measures.