There is increasing pressure on Amazon and other delivery companies to implement more secure safety measures for workers who are worried about getting infected with coronavirus.
A walkout from work over inadequate protection was staged by some workers at the United States food delivery firm Instacart and US and Italian workers at Amazon.
Concerns over the issue have also been issued by US senators in a letter to Amazon boss Jeff Bezos.
Even as there is a significant increase in demand for delivery services because of the virus pandemic, the companies have assured that extra precautions is being taken by them.
“We are going to great lengths to keep the buildings extremely clean and help employees practice important precautions such as social distancing and other measures”, an Amazon spokesman said in a statement. “Those who don’t want to work are welcome to use paid and unpaid time off options and we support them in doing so”.
Increased cleaning of its facilities and implementing staggered shift and break times are some of the safety measures that have been introduced by Amazon, the company said.
Deliveries in Italy have been reduced by Amazon since March 22. However, workers need access to better protection, said union leaders.
“Several employees working at the site use face masks for days instead of having new ones each day,” one union representative told Reuters.
It has “taken extensive measures to keep people safe,” Amazon told NBC
The decision to cut healthcare benefits for 1,900 part-time employees by Amazon was severely last year.
In an open letter to the Amazon employees earlier this month, Bezos thanked them for their work. Bezos is one of the richest people in eth world with an estimated $115.6bn in net personal wealth.
Pay for workers at its warehouses will be increased by it all across the world, the company has said. That will also include a hike of $2 per hour in the US and of £2 per hour in the United Kingdom. The company recently announced plans to hire 100,000 more warehouse workers in the US to cater to the surge in orders.
The Instacart Shoppers and Gig Workers collective had organized the strike on Monday against Instacart. The striking workers have accused the company of making profiting even at the expense of putting people making its deliveries “directly in harm’s way”. The demands made by the organisation include providing of adequate protective gear, offering of hazard pay and continue making payments to those workers who are unable to work because of the coronavirus pandemic – either because of mandatory quarantine or pre-existing condition.
“This is an extraordinary time in history, and as Shoppers, those of us who are able – and have the means to protect ourselves – do want to help those in our community by delivery groceries and supplies,” the organisers wrote.
“But with Instacart neglecting the basic wellbeing of its 150,000+ drivers, we believe there is no choice but to not only walk off but to raise awareness to the company’s practices.”
(Adapted from BBC.com)