Amazon whistleblowers claim they are under too much pressure to take proper water breaks throughout the day
The firm has been forced to defend itself amid further claims about working conditions at its Dunfermline warehouse.
Workers have spoken out about strict targets, inadequate breaks and penalties for sickness absence.
A former employee of the online giant, who did not want to be named, said: “The first thing you see when you go into the car park at Amazon is a sign saying ‘safety starts here’.
“Then you get into the building and it’s targets, targets, targets.”
He said it could be difficult to drink enough water on shift, a view shared by another former Amazon worker who contacted The Courier. The source said he was set a target of fetching 100 items an hour.
“You need to be picking at least 100 items an hour. You cannot achieve this without running and you are not allowed to run,” he said.
“You need to stay hydrated but in order to do this you need to stop to go get water which they say you are allowed, yet if you stop you fall behind.”
Former employees talked about a points system for penalising absences and lateness.
Amazon confirmed that an absence amounted to one point and turning up late to work, half a point.
However, it is understood three points could be given for an absence where the employee has not phoned in.
Amazon said an employee with six points under the attendance system would be spoken to for an understanding of why those points had been accrued, but would not automatically be dismissed.
The source said the size of the warehouse made taking a break difficult.
“You can be anywhere in the factory and it can take a good five to 10 minutes before even getting to the canteen or out for a cigarette so you’re still rushed,” he added.
A spokesman for Amazon said: “Regardless of the role, all our associates receive one hour of breaks during each 10-hour shift, which is above industry standards.
“Water is readily available to our people while performing their duties.
“Like most companies, Amazon has a fair and predictable system to record staff attendance and take into account individual circumstances. This is clearly communicated to associates during their orientation.”