AMAZON IS being forced to explain why an undercover reporter found workers at its fulfilment centres peeing in bottles for fear of missing targets by taking toilet breaks.
Author James Bloodworth went undercover at the company's Staffordshire warehouse, and found that some workers were four floors from their designated toilet and didn't feel secure in taking a break in order to make the pilgrimage downstairs.
"People just peed in bottles because they lived in fear of being disciplined over 'idle time' and losing their jobs just because they needed the loo," Bloodworth told The Sun.
They also avoid drinking water to reduce the need to go to the toilet which is likely to lead to dehydration.
The news comes days after a report based on 241 respondents gathered multiple reports of workers "in fear" of taking breaks or calling in sick, with one woman fearing her job during her pregnancy after being penalised.
The report was put together by a group of whistleblowers on the Organise website, which champions workers who feel they have a raw deal and no voice.
It found that 74 per cent of workers were afraid to use the toilet in case they missed their productivity targets which are decided on a points based system.
55 per cent say they have suffered with depression since starting at Amazon, with 57 per cent saying they are a lot more anxious. 55 per cent said that they were penalised in ways that they felt were unfair.
A massive 81 per cent say they would never apply for an Amazon job again with one worker complaining, "from their [Amazon's] point of view, we don't have the right to be ill."
A second wave of results showed targets increasing. Many workers say they have lost weight significantly since joining and a small but significant percentage have said the job has led to suicidal thoughts.
A petition has been sent to Amazon, which includes demands that targets be decreased and that workers be allowed to take their full 30-minute breaks without intimidation.
It also demands that technical problems in the warehouse should not affect targets, that toilet breaks should pause target measurement.
Finally, it insists that there should be a confidential reporting procedure, and allow union representatives in staff meetings.
Amazon has said that it "doesn't recognise" the findings of the reports as an "accurate portrayal of activities in our buildings".
It continues, "Amazon provides a safe and positive workplace for thousands of people across the UK with competitive pay and benefits from day one."
Amazon also says it offers tours of its warehouses so we can all bask in its joyful business environment. No,w where has that information been all this time? We're off to make a few phone calls.
In the meantime, let's remember that Jeff Bezos, Amazon boss, is one of the richest men on the planet, and is currently spending £30m of his money on a clock built into a mountain that is almost impossible to get to. It's not known how many toilets it will have. µ
The week in Google
The scandal that just keeps giving
Clip to the end....