Amazon.com Becomes Santa Sweatshop, Says U.K. Report

To make sure you get your Xbox 360 this Christmas, Amazon's U.K. workers pack 140 games consoles every hour. And that might be the easiest part of their day, according to a report in the Times of London , which says laborers are sometimes made to walk up to 14 miles a shift to collect items for packing. The report also notes that U.K. workers risking firing if they take sick days, even with a doctor's note.

A reporter went undercover in one of Amazon's U.K. fulfillment centers (warehouses, packaging and delivery centers) and found that laborers there have to work seven days a week, including an overnight shift, which runs from Saturday evening to 5am on Sunday.

The reporter also revealed that Amazon refuses to allow sick leave, even with a doctor's note. Amazon operates a penalty points scheme, where a worker gets dismissed when he accumulates 6 points. One sick day off will cost the laborer one point.

Breaks are not very comfy for Amazon's workers either. Apparently they are given only 35 minutes break (15 and 20 minutes respectively) in an eight-hour shift and they have to get permission to go to the toilet.

Amazon U.K. doesn't deny the report, telling the Times that their workers are "working flat out to ensure that our millions of customers receive the products that they have ordered on time this Christmas." However, in the U.S., an Amazon spokesperson said to Seattle PI reporter Andrea James: "Don't believe everything you read!" as "There were many inaccuracies in the U.K. article."

Amazon, founded 13 years ago by Jeff Bezos in his garage in Seattle, quickly became today's most popular place for online shopping--due to its low prices and reliability. The company estimates that around 81 million people around the world are buying something from them every year.

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