Amazon contends with uproar from BBC investigation

An undercover BBC reporter took a job as a "picker" at a U.K. Amazon (AMZN +0.8%) fulfillment center, and secretly filmed the demanding night shifts required of the job.

The reported claims to have walked nearly 11 miles during the course of one shift, and was harshly critical of Amazon's labor practices. "We are machines, we are robots, we plug our scanner in, we're holding it, but we might as well be plugging it into ourselves."

Meanwhile, in a quote garnering headlines, a U.K. work stress expert declared the reporter's evidence suggests the job carries "increased risk of mental illness and physical illness."

Amazon has responded to the story by asserting it's complying "with all relevant legal requirements," and that an independent expert appointed by the company called its warehouse jobs similar to those in many other industries.

This isn't the first time a media expose has taken aim at working conditions at an Amazon warehouse.

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Comments (15)
  • canb888
    , contributor
    Comments (673) | Send Message
    What else would one expect from an arm-chair reporter trying a blue collar job?
    26 Nov 2013, 02:46 PM Reply Like
  • westewart
    , contributor
    Comments (120) | Send Message
    "We are machines, we are robots, we plug our scanner in, we're holding it, but we might as well be plugging it into ourselves."


    They're lucky their jobs aren't done by robots already.
    26 Nov 2013, 03:22 PM Reply Like
  • BriansGirl
    , contributor
    Comments (99) | Send Message
    They will be soon. AMZN purchased a robot company a little over a year ago.
    26 Nov 2013, 03:35 PM Reply Like
  • jtmonrow
    , contributor
    Comments (48) | Send Message
    BriansGirl ~ You beat me to it! This is precisely how automation takes the placeof humans. If it weren't for Jeff Bezo's obsessive need for faster and faster delivery these jobs would be elsewhere.
    26 Nov 2013, 04:25 PM Reply Like
  • seekasp
    , contributor
    Comments (121) | Send Message
 Yup, this is the company Amazon purchased. It's a matter of time before Amazon replaces warehouse workers with robots like this.
    26 Nov 2013, 04:47 PM Reply Like
  • DianeLee
    , contributor
    Comments (368) | Send Message
    I suspect the reporter applied for and accepted the job knowing the working conditions. The purpose was an expose and the reporter didn't intend fairness in reporting to begin with. Hello? It's a warehouse. The next complaints will be all the jobs lost to non-union robots.
    27 Nov 2013, 10:09 AM Reply Like
  • SoldHigh
    , contributor
    Comments (991) | Send Message
    Wow, what a pathetic wining wuss.


    If you don't like the job, quit.
    26 Nov 2013, 03:25 PM Reply Like
  • ClassicLib
    , contributor
    Comments (151) | Send Message
    Tell this guy to go work in a real sweatshop in China for a few months and see if he still complains about walking 11 miles a day.


    I would rather tough that out than work with a PLA officer pointing a pistol at the back of my head while ensuring I cannot even take a bathroom break.
    26 Nov 2013, 04:27 PM Reply Like
  • stoj
    , contributor
    Comments (774) | Send Message
    it's like working in a privately owned post office, good, if you are healthy enough to run half marathon ( which a lot of young people are )
    26 Nov 2013, 04:46 PM Reply Like
  • Akimbe
    , contributor
    Comments (59) | Send Message
    Aren't these the awesome Jobs politicians have been praising AMZN for providing in various state-to-state distribution center ribbon cuttings?
    26 Nov 2013, 06:31 PM Reply Like
  • Johnwoods41
    , contributor
    Comments (177) | Send Message
    I assume from most of the comments none of you have seen the documentary. Living in the UK I have seen the programme, and I must say it was simply shocking. All undercover filming, and you wouldn't even need any commentary or opinion to take a very dim view of how the company operates.


    The most worrying thing is that they push their workers to the limit squeeze targets from them that most employees will fail...... AND THEY STILL LOOSE MONEY !!!!


    Every analyst covering this stock on Wall Street should be forced to watch this documentary


    You have to watch this programme, think about their costs and business model and just scratch your head!
    26 Nov 2013, 08:28 PM Reply Like
  • Mr.Netflix
    , contributor
    Comment (1) | Send Message
    Remember we're talking about Europa.
    26 Nov 2013, 10:24 PM Reply Like
  • SquareHead
    , contributor
    Comments (91) | Send Message
    Welcome to the world of manual labor. It is demanding and a lot of people will take pride in a tough job well done. It is the reality for many workers. Sorry you couldn't cut it. But, not everyone can be on the dole. Not even in the UK. I hope you learned your lesson: Keep your day job. It doesn't get much better than working at a government run new organization.
    26 Nov 2013, 10:31 PM Reply Like
  • Workinhard
    , contributor
    Comments (352) | Send Message
    Same conditions in AMZN warehouses in the US , in PA the warehouse was over 100 degrees until a news report put pressure on AMZN to add cooling. The same people who protest Walmart's low pay don't seem to have any problem buying from Amazon - they just stick their head in the sand and pretend all is good at AMZN.
    26 Nov 2013, 11:32 PM Reply Like
  • iemlegend
    , contributor
    Comments (4) | Send Message
    This is the problem with America. It's sad. The majority have become a bunch of whining little babies who see manual labor as a chance to sue someone. Our country was built on manual labor. I spent years working a warehouse for two different companies. I never once complained about the heat or the walking or any of the conditions these premodannas are crying about. It's work. At work you put in work. That's the end of it.


    My father worked as a telephone man for years. He was shocked off of a ladder due to a coworkers error. He was injured and was out of work a short while. He went right back to work the following month. He gained respect with his work ethic. He was promoted for his consistency and hard work. Never complaining. The generations of today are born with a silver spoon and complain if it doesn't shine as bright as they demand. This is pathetic what people are becoming. It's even more pathetic that people are defending the ones complaining. The worst part is, people are only getting worse. People want things done for them. To them I say grow up, man up, do it yourself and get your damn hands dirty for a change.
    27 Nov 2013, 09:09 PM Reply Like
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