MP calls shift working for Amazon “exhausting”

By Dan Wilson August 8, 2014 - 9:20 am

A Scottish MP has taken to the floor of an Amazon warehouse and declared his day’s work “exhausting”, according to a report in a newspaper north of the border.

Labour’s Thomas Docherty worked a shift from 07:45 to 18:30 to get a feel for working in the establishment which has been sited in Scotland with encouragement from the Scottish government.

He said: “It’s really hard work, exhausting and clearly not for everybody. The targets are tough and I think I would struggle to meet them. I don’t think I’d be able to do it.”

“At the same time it’s not like a galley, it’s not slave labour and I spoke to people who like working there, preferring it to other places they had worked locally and they felt the pay was good.”

The warehouse has suffered criticism that the working environment was too hot but Docherty says: “They have just had new air conditioning installed, I believe, and I found it fine. I was working in casual clothes but others were wearing t-shirts and shorts.”

“It’s very repetitive and the targets are hard to meet. I was packing larger books and boxes of groceries. My target was 80 items in an hour. People packing smaller items like CDs had a target of 200 in an hour and I certainly don’t think I’d be able to do that.”

Mr Docherty urges Amazon to talk with unions to encourage recognition: “I’m going to be speaking with the GMB union later this year. I’d like to see the company meet with them as well but that’s not something that’s going to happen overnight. I’m grateful to Amazon for the opportunity of seeing what it’s like to work there. I think they would admit they made mistakes early on in terms of keeping people on temporary contracts for too long.”

“The company has also not done itself any favours PR-wise over its tax situation but it has 900 permanent staff here and a lot of people like working there. However, at the same time, I wouldn’t have asked to work there if there weren’t these issues being raised regularly and all the stories going about.”

I’d say Amazon should be pleased with this MP’s experience. Of course, plenty of manual labour is tiring and tough but it seems that this plant is a great source of local employment for those who want (and can do) that sort of work.

  • 3 years ago

    is it surprising that with mr docherty’s ‘non-job’ experience (cf wikipedia) he finds ‘work’ hard & exhausting?

    the reference to the GMB (gumboots union) is light relief – the idea that they could face packing 1 item per hour without having to stop on principle beggars belief

    more people will be working this way mr docherty – perhaps they’ll wonder what you’re doing for how much and who are the people paying for you

  • 3 years ago

    I wonder if an M.P. is the right person to judge a Manual Job such as working in a Warehouse. I watch Prime Ministers Question Time and other Parliamentary Programmes. Often from the Chamber of the House of Commons you can clearly see M.P.’s fast asleep on the benches.

    The vast majority of the working population are not employed in jobs where being fast asleep is acceptable.

    However if you look around the Political Classes they are generally unfit. They only venture out into the general population at such as General Election Times. May 2015 is the next General Election and in the weeks before the General Election the Political Classes and especially the Candidates(including existing Members who are trying to be re-elected for another 5 years) will be working long hard days and will be getting far fitter.

    Perhaps a few weeks in an Amazon Warehouse is just the sort of training regime that they all need for the next General Election. For many of them it will be the first productive work that they will have carried out for maybe several years.

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