Protesters stage Black Friday demonstration outside Amazon Peterborough
Protesters are demonstrating outside Peterborough's Amazon fulfilment centre today to highlight concerns about working conditions.
The protest has been organised by the GMB union as part of a nationwide action outside the online retailing giant's five UK sites.
The Peterborough protest, which began at about 5.30am today (Friday), will be joined by Peterborough Euro MP Alex Mayer.
The action comes as Amazon staff prepare for one of their busiest times of the year with heavily discounted Black Friday sales expected to trigger record-breaking numbers of orders from customers.
But their concerns have been rejected by managers at Amazon who say the company offers good wages, training and industry-leading benefits.
GMB general secretary Tim Roache said: "We're standing up and saying enough is enough.
"You'd think making the workplace safer so people aren't carted out of the warehouse in an ambulance is in everyone's interest, but Amazon seemingly have no will to get round the table with us.
"Working people and the communities Amazon operates in deserve better than this. That's what we're campaigning for."
Ms Mayer said “We're standing up and saying enough is enough. Please, Amazon treat your workers with dignity.
“Similar protests are also being held in Germany, Spain and Poland which I applaud.
"Global fat cat businesses often try and export bad working practices from one country to another, and the only way to defeat that is with international solidarity.
“When you order a book, headphones or new laptop online, of course you can’t wait for it to arrive but there need to be enough well trained, well paid staff working in safe warehouses to fulfil the orders. Staff can’t be treated as robots.”
Amazon said in a statement: "Amazon has created in the UK more than 25,000 good jobs with a minimum of £9.50 an hour and in the London area, £10.50 an hour on top of industry-leading benefits and skills training opportunities.
"All of our sites are safe places to work and reports to the contrary are simply wrong. According to the UK Government's Health and Safety Executive, Amazon has over 40 per cent fewer injuries on average than other transportation and warehousing companies in the UK.
"We encourage everyone to compare our pay, benefits and working conditions to others and come see for yourself on one of the public tours we offer every day at our centres across the UK."