• Bryan

As Coronavirus Devastates People & Businesses Jeff Bazos & Amazon Profit

Workers from Amazon and their subsidiary Whole Foods are continuing to strike because of health and safety concerns relating to the coronavirus pandemic.

But it comes as no surprise that Amazon and Jeff Bezos are once again on the wrong side of employee welfare.

In July 2019, the GMB trade union in the UK coordinated a series of demonstrations outside Amazon's UK warehouses, in response to more than 600 complaints made to the Health and Safety Executive about health and safety breaches by Jeff Bezos's company. 

The situation was so bad that workers at the warehouses were terrified to to leave their stations to use the toilet, and therefore routinely urinated in plastic bottles. 

Even pregnant women were not exempt from the harsh regime in the warehouses, with some having to stand for very long periods unable to sit down, and subsequently targeted for dismissal because they couldn't cope with the environment.

But the cruel conditions are not just confined to people working in the warehouses, they also extend to van drivers who sometimes deliver up to 200 packages to homes and businesses every day. Drivers are treated like machines that can be programmed to go on working indefinitely without getting fatigued. 

It is normal practice with other delivery companies that if a customer is not at home and misses the delivery, the driver leaves a calling card informing the customer that the driver will attempt the delivery the next day.

However, Amazon drivers on their way home after a long shift, come under pressure from their managers to revisit addresses, even though the drivers had left cards informing the customer that they were going to try again the next day.

These tough and sometimes impossible demands on Jeff Bezos's employees at the lower end of the organization - workers at Whole Foods or drivers and warehouse staff at Amazon - appears to be an extension of the culture established by Jeff Bezos.  He has been described by people who worked for him as very difficult, rude, petulant and patronizing to his employees.

How an employer treats his or her employees is usually an instructive insight into their character, and it's up to others to draw their own conclusions about Jeff Bezos.

If morality is one of the things that you place high on your list of qualities that you expect from high profile people, then are you comfortable buying things from a man who cheats on his wife and sends naked pictures of himself and his bits to his mistress?

What about the importance of social responsibility in a country where resources are pooled according to the ability to pay, in order to benefit everyone? This means paying taxes so the government can act to protect the environment and properly fund and maintain public services.

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has demonstrated the immense importance of the NHS in saving lives and protecting the public. Other public services like the police, transport and schools have also shown how critical they are to the fabric of society and the well-being of the people.

These services all need to be well funded and their staff well paid, to ensure that they have the capacity to function effectively, especially during a crisis. The country has learnt to its cost the dangers of cutting and under-funding a service like the NHS.

Everyone has to play their part - individuals and corporations like Jeff Bezos's Amazon. However, it doesn't seem like Jeff Bezos means well for services like the NHS in particular, and the people of the UK in general, if in 2019 Amazon made £10.9 billion in the UK but paid only £220 million in direct taxes.

Jeff Bezos broke no UK tax laws, but he definitely used his resources to exploit every loophole he could find in order to pay obscenely low taxes to the UK treasury. Something most hardworking men and women in the country is unable to do, and would not wish to, because they value the NHS and other public services.

So the next time you want to buy the latest 'Alexa', or subscribe to Amazon's streaming service or order any product online from Amazon, remember that Amazon and Jeff Bezos, who is worth $122.2 billion, can afford to pay more taxes towards the NHS and other public services.

It shouldn't be up to you to bear the burden of funding the public services that also benefit Jeff Bezos, such as healthcare for his hard-pressed workers, education for their children, good roads for their deliveries, policing and security for their business and premises and modern communications networks. 

Jeff Bezos must demonstrate greater social responsibility.