Unite launches hotline and campaign to get a ‘new deal’ for Amazon workers in Northern Ireland

Sharon Graham, Unite Executive Officer

Unite the Union, has opened a confidential whistle-blowing hotline for Amazon workers in Northern Ireland.

The union has begun a national newspaper and digital Facebook advertising campaign to alert Amazon workers that they can blow the whistle and expose poor treatment free from reprisals by calling 08000 141 461 or visiting the hotline. The union is advertising in newspapers and online across the UK and Ireland including in the Belfast Telegraph

The hotline coincides with the launch of the campaign alliance ‘Action on Amazon’ that is demanding a ‘new deal’ for Amazon workers, including a union and a greater share of the firm’s enormous profits. Belfast is home to a major Amazon fulfilment centre located in Channel Business Park. Today (Wednesday 31 March) campaigners will also unfurl a giant banner at that Amazon centre to mark the launch of the nationwide campaign as part of a series of regional launches.

Against a backdrop of reports of poor working conditions, Amazon workers have been essential during the Covid crisis. The company increased its permanent workforce by one third (10,000) in 2020 as well as taking on 20,000 additional seasonal staff. The company almost doubled its profit in 2020 compared to 2019 and Jeff Bezos is now ranked the world’s richest man.

But Amazon stops any attempts by workers to gain a collective voice of their own. It has failed to sign up to either the United Nations Global Compact or the Ethical Trading Initiative – bodies that recognise the right of all workers to a collective voice and are signed up to by most of the biggest names on the high street.

The union is now calling on Amazon’s Jeff Bezos to sign up to a ‘new deal’, including commitments that recognise workers’ right to unionise.

Unite executive officer Sharon Graham said: “Unite has opened a confidential hotline for Amazon workers in  to blow the whistle on poor treatment and working practices.

“Amazon attacks all attempts by workers to gain a collective voice of their own. This is why Unite is launching ‘Action on Amazon’ to give Amazon workers a voice, so they don’t have to rely on whistle-blowing or calling confidential hotlines.

“Jeff Bezos has become the world’s richest man off the backs of workers who have played a crucial part in so many people’s lives during the pandemic. It is prime time Amazon gave workers in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland the right to be in a Union and to do so without interference, bullying and intimidation.”

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