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“Constant Stress” At Amazon Centers Making Workers Sick, Says U.K. Union

“Constant Stress” At Amazon Centers Making Workers Sick, Says U.K. Union
[Photo: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images]

In the wake of a scathing exposéof Amazon’s workplace culture published by the New York Times this weekend, a British trade union is claiming that employees at the e-commerce giant’s U.K. distribution centers are becoming mentally and physically ill due to difficult working conditions.

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The National Union of General and Municipal Workers (GMB) lead officer for Amazon, Elly Baker, told The Times newspaper in London that Amazon’s U.K. employees faced pressure to be an “above-average Amazon robot all the time.”

“It’s hard, physical work, but the constant stress of being monitored and never being able to drop below a certain level of performance is harsh,” said Baker, who likened Amazon’s employment practices to those of a “regime.”

British employees are apparently suffering from musculoskeletal problems and work-related anxiety, according to Baker.

In response to the New York Times story this weekend, Amazon chief Jeff Bezos–long known for his far-flung ambitions for the company’s product and service reach and scale–sent an email to Amazon employees saying he didn’t recognize the Amazon in the story and urging employees to come forward with evidence of any mistreatment.

“I strongly believe that anyone working in a company that really is like the one described in the NYT would be crazy to stay,” Bezos said. “I know I would leave such a company.”

According to The Guardian, more than 7,000 staff work at Amazon U.K. distribution centers across seven cities.

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