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Union calls for a parliamentary inquiry into Amazon warehouses ambulance callouts

Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton

The GMB Union has said that no-one should be scared about leaving work in an ambulance. But that’s the reality hundreds of Amazon warehouse workers face each and every shift. There have been more than 600 ambulance call-outs to Amazon warehouses over the past three years.

A Freedom of Information request by union GMB obtained monthly data from four ambulance trusts that cover major Amazon sites. Analysis shows that, over a five-year period, November was the worst month for ambulance callouts. GMB said demand for ambulances grew by 46 per cent between October and November alone as the company piled on the pressure to fulfil orders.

But Amazon, which has a giant fulfilment centre at Rugeley in Staffordshire, has hit back at the data, claiming its critics are using “incomplete information that’s without context and designed to intentionally mislead.”

GMB is calling on the company to enter into urgent talks to address its health and safety record. Mick Rix, GMB national officer, said: “While most people enjoy their Black Friday bargains, Amazon workers are being pushed beyond the limits of human endurance. Each year, ambulance call outs to Amazon sites rocket as workers desperately race to hit their crushing targets.”

Amazon responded “We know we’re not perfect and are continuing to get better every day, but the fact is that Amazon has 40 per cent fewer injuries on average compared to other transportation and warehousing businesses. The vast majority of ambulance call outs to our buildings are related to pre-existing conditions, not work-related incidents, and as a responsible employer we will always call an ambulance if someone requires medical attention.”

“Rather than arguing with self-interested critics who aren’t interested in facts or progress, we’re going to keep listening to our 55,000 employees, taking their feedback, and working hard to keep investing and improving for the long run.”

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