Swansea Amazon: Wales TUC in call for Unionisation to Improve Conditions

25th May 2014

A press release from Swansea Trades Council


Swansea Trades Council

 Join a union to fight for better conditions


The Wales TUC last week unanimously passed a motion, moved by Swansea Trades Council, calling for a campaign to unionise Amazon to end the sort of work conditions highlighted on the Panorama programme, “The Truth Behind The Click”.


Conference heard of the constant physical and mental pressure put on workers in Swansea’s Amazon warehouse, the draconian points system operated for ‘offences’ like being sick and the laying off of workers without explanation.


Swansea Trades Council believes, and Wales TUC agreed, that the only way to put an end to exploitative practises at Amazon is to unionise the workforce to fight for better conditions. Conference instructed the General Council of the Wales TUC to provide all possible support to any union taking on this challenge. Swansea Trades Council promises that we will do all we can to assist as well.


The motion was also critical of the Welsh Government for subsidising – the Welsh Government, according to Panorama, provided over £13 million for the Swansea warehouse and Ffordd Amazon access road – exploitative working conditions and casualisation.


What makes this particularly galling is the fact that, in Amazon’s case, they pay so little tax here. Conference demanded of the Welsh Government that all future subsidies to employers be dependent on union recognition and access for union organisers to the workforce.


Ronnie Job,

Secretary, Swansea Trades Council

e-mail: swansea.tradescouncil@gmail.com or phone 07963 454041

Swansea Trades Council Motion:

Trade Union Rights and Welsh Government Subsidies

Conference notes the BBC Panorama programme’s revelations on Amazon; not just the intolerable conditions workers face but also the financial subsidies provided by the Welsh Government to bring one of the huge Amazon warehouses to Wales.

The programme highlighted the enormous physical and mental stress that employees are put under to meet near impossible targets, with distances in excess of 13 miles walked on a single night shift. The Panorama programme and an article in the Independent, confirm an interview with a Christmas casual worker, written by the Swansea Trades Council Secretary for the Socialist, which explains how the idea of joining a union is scoffed at, workers have unreasonable deductions from pay and are terminated without notice by means of deactivating their door cards.

Conference believes many trade unionists will be angry that a company like Amazon, which doesn’t recognise unions and is a notorious tax-avoider, should be subsidised by the Welsh Government to bring their brand of super-exploitation and low pay to Wales. According to Panorama, the Welsh Government provided £8.8 million for the construction of the warehouse in Swansea and over £5 million for the construction of the ‘Ffordd Amazon’ access road for the warehouse.
Conference resolves to pressure the Welsh Government to make union recognition and access for union organisers to staff an absolute pre-requisite for future subsidies.

Conference further resolves to provide all possible assistance to any affiliate who wants to take on the challenge of organising Amazon.
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