Amazon shells out for 500 full-time warehouse jobs amid labour hire criticism


Amazon has agreed to shell out for 500 permanent jobs in its local warehouses, following months of sustained criticism about working conditions in its Australian distribution centres.

The global e-commerce giant will be “transitioning the majority” of its warehouse associates to full-time permanent positions over the next year, a move that will see it take direct responsibility for conditions.

The decision came just hours after the ABC published the latest set of allegations about what it’s like to work in the company’s Australian warehouses, even publishing an online game about the experience.

The ABC reported on Wednesday local workers, hired through agency Adecco as casuals, are being called into work on short notice, are having their shifts cancelled at the last minute and are expected to work at a pace somewhere between walking and jogging.

It follows previous reports describing Amazon’s warehouse conditions as like a “hellscape”.

An Amazon Australia spokesperson rubbished the ABC reports, claiming the public broadcaster was being “intentionally sensational”.

“The article by the ABC is intentionally sensational in its reporting and is demeaning to the hard-working, dedicated people who work at Amazon fulfilment centres and do a great job,” an Amazon spokesperson said.

The National Union of Workers has been critical of Amazon’s hiring practices since it entered the Australian market in late-2017, claiming the business is using labour hire to escape legal obligations.

The hires will substantially increase the company’s local workforce, which including Amazon Web Services staff currently sits at just over 1,500. The business has over 250,000 workers globally.

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