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MPs must seek evidence from former Amazon vice-president, union demands

Tim Bray quit the company after it fired workers for protesting against the lack of coronavirus safety

MPs must seek evidence from former Amazon vice-president Tim Bray, who resigned after the company sacked US workers protesting at a lack of Covid-19 safety measures, GMB said today.

The union called on the employment and select committee to look into Mr Bray’s allegations.

He announced his resignation in a blog on Monday, saying: “Remaining an Amazon VP would have meant, in effect, signing off on actions I despised.”

Warehouse workers had complained publicly about being left uninformed, unprotected and frightened, and staged walkouts in New York, Detroit and Chicago to demand better safety.

The sacking of protest organisers was described as “chickenshit”  by Mr Bray, who added that the dismissals were “designed to create a climate of fear.”

GMB London region organiser Steve Garelick said: “I have had direct contact with members who have been concerned about work-based distancing and other safety during this crisis.

“Amazon do not recognise unions such as GMB, not because of their normal claims that we are making trouble but more because they do not like outside direction.”

Mr Garelick said there was “nothing honourable or cool” about not  listening to workers.

Mr Bray’s resignation coincided with the company facing increased anger from staff over its response to the pandemic.

In his blog post, Mr Bray said that the “big problem” was not the specifics of the online retail giant’s handling of the crisis, but that “Amazon treats the humans in the warehouses as fungible units of pick-and-pack potential.”

“Only that’s not just Amazon, it’s how 21st-century capitalism is done,” he said.

“Firing whistleblowers isn’t just a side-effect of macroeconomic forces, nor is it intrinsic to the function of free markets.

“It’s evidence of a vein of toxicity running through the company culture. I choose neither to serve nor drink that poison.”


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