Amazon is handing out ‘Thank you’ t-shirts to warehouse workers as it cuts their hazard-pay
Online shopping giant Amazon has not only chosen to cut the hazard-pay directed at its workers during the current COVID-19 crisis but has decided instead to hand out branded merchandise to its warehouse staff.
This merchandise includes t-shirts for workers to wear, which bears the message “Thanks to you” on the front and “Together, we’ll deliver” on the back.
While clearly attempting an inspirational sentiment, many workers instead have hit back claiming that the gestures do not “feel sincere” and that it is considered more of a “slap in the face” in comparison to hazard pay and support of Amazon workers exposed on the front lines to the virus.
Amazon has been a lifeline for many people self-isolating or choosing to lockdown during the current pandemic, having items delivered directly to their home. What’s clear is that Amazon workers are providing a crucial service during this time by continuing their delivery service, but naturally, this has put increased risk on those still working and delivering out in public and working within the warehouses.
This news comes after the British public has been warned not to open their delivered packages to reduce coronavirus infections.
One employee, who preferred to remain unnamed, stated:
“While I hate to sound ungrateful for anything, putting a big ‘Thank you’ on the shirt was a clear indication they wanted to sway our thoughts. It just didn’t feel sincere.”
The t-shirts were placed in a room for workers to freely go in and pick the size they wanted. However, an employee stationed at a warehouse in Texas advised that if not working on the warehouse floor specifically, you would not receive a t-shirt.
This branded merchandise has emerged alongside the phasing out of Amazon’s $2 an hour hazard pay, a move which many workers have slated.
In response, an Amazon spokesperson commented in reference to why t-shirts emblazoned with messages of gratitude are applicable during this time:
“We continue to see heavy demand during this difficult time and the team is doing incredible work for our customers and the community.”
The hazard pay cut has also emerged following the end of Amazon’s unpaid flexible time-off policy, which gave the workers the right to leave work in response to the Coronavirus. This work leave policy was brought to a stop at the end of April, leaving many workers still in a situation of difficulty regarding risks associated with returning to work.
The situation for Amazon workers recently came to a head, when many individuals staged walkouts in response to a perceived lack of Coronavirus protection within Amazon warehouses.
Christian Smalls, a worker who was fired after he organised the walkout, commented that Amazon is:
“capitalising at the expense of human life.”
While Amazon faces criticism from workers in regard to hazard-pay cuts and Coronavirus protection, this comes following Amazon’s reveal that it will make and provide face shields for medical staff working on the frontline of the Coronavirus pandemic. The internet company has tasked engineers from its relevant divisions to produce the protective equipment and provide primarily to medical staff before making the items available for general consumers.
Amazon came under criticism in March after the National Crime Agency warned about a surge in scams on Amazon and eBay, saying that they are failing to tackle the issue.