‘You will be infected or you will die of starvation’: Amazon contractors reportedly say their office is still unsafe months after first complaining of ‘subhuman’ conditions (AMZN)

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Contractors for Amazon’s Ring division say they’re still scared to go to work six months after first complaining of poor working conditions, per a Thursday NBC News.

In April, workers at a Philippines call center said they were working under “subhuman” conditions, with no room for social distancing and limited sanitation. Photos of employees sleeping on the floor of the center in close proximity to each other were circulated online as workers said they felt pressured to stay near the office to make it to their shifts on time, as the Financial Times reported. Teleperformance, the contractor who employs the workers at the call center, said it would address their complaints.

But according to workers who spoke to NBC News, working conditions have only gotten worse as the coronavirus disease continues to spread across the globe. Teleperformance stopped letting employees sleep on the floor of the call center, according to the report, but the contractors says it didn’t offer an alternative.

In an emailed statement, an Amazon spokesperson told Business Insider that “nothing is more important than the health and safety of our teams including contractors. Ring does not tolerate violations of our vendor Code of Conduct, and we also require our vendors to follow government orders and recommendations regarding COVID-19. This includes strict guidelines for social distancing, use of protective equipment, and sanitation. If we find any violations, we will take the appropriate steps to address them, including immediate corrective action.”

Employee complaints began after Cebu City, where the call center in the Philippines is located, shut down public transit. Teleperformance began offering work shuttles to take employees to and from the call center instead. But workers said the shuttles have unreliable service, sometimes arriving late to pick them up from their homes and taking too long to drop them off after the end of their shifts. 

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Amazon Ring said it does not allow them to work from home over what it told NBC is “the data security and privacy of our customers,” a common reason tech companies, like Facebook, have given for bringing some, mostly contract employees back to offices while transmission rates remain high and many areas are still under some form of work-from-home orders. Still, the contractors for Ring told NBC they aren’t able to access confidential personal information without a customer’s consent.

Dozens of the call center’s employees have developed flu-like symptoms, which are characteristic of COVID-19 infection, according to the report. Workers say that workstations aren’t properly sanitized, and when shifts overlap, it’s difficult to socially distance. Cleaning staff comes through sporadically and when they do, it’s with a bucket of water and a towel, employees told NBC.

“People are scared because we don’t know who has it and who doesn’t have it,” a contractor told the outlet. “But people don’t have a choice, because it’s either you will be infected or you will die of starvation.”

A spokesperson for Teleperformance told NBC that the “safety and wellbeing of our employees will always be the top …read more

Source:: Businessinsider – Tech


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