Activists stage Black Friday protest at Amazon warehouse in Dunfermline

A group of protesters have staged a demonstration at Amazon’s warehouse in Dunfermline over what they have labelled “draconian” working conditions and practices.

Fife People’s Assembly and other local groups organised the protest to coincide with Black Friday, the online retailer’s busiest shopping day of the year.

Campaigners claimed workers are being exploited at the company, particularly in the run-up to Christmas, and alleged that agency workers are working up to 60 hours per week for little more than the minimum wage.

Our demo today at Amazon Dunfermline this morning blocking the road well done Comrades. Amazon we will be back change ur working practices

Posted by Alex S Dixon on Friday, 25 November 2016

They also claim that new workers are tracked and monitored every minute of their working day and sacked if they fail to meet targets.

However, Amazon has dismissed the claims, insisting that the firm values its employees and maintains a “culture of direct dialogue” with them.

Representatives from Fife People’s Assembly were joined by colleagues from Fife Trades Union Council with the support of the STUC to make their views heard outside the fulfilment centre in Amazon Way.

“On Black Friday last year, sold more than 7.4 million items, at a rate of around 86 items per second,” a spokesperson said.

“Amazon has it within its power to create a truly first class working environment, but this is always negated by the drive for bigger and better profits at all costs.

“It is always at the expense of the workers who are treated no better than drones. “Workers who are treated as commodities to be used and abused for a few weeks then sent back into the arms of the DWP.”

The protest is expected to be just the first of a season of efforts by campaigners to highlight the Christmas profits of companies who are perceived by some to be exploitative.

A spokesman for Amazon said: “Amazon is proud to be a significant contributor to the economy in Scotland, including investing hundreds of millions of pounds in our Scottish operations over the past five years and today supporting over 2,200 competitively paid jobs at our research and development centre as well as customer service centre in Edinburgh, and fulfilment centres in Gourock and Dunfermline.

“We care for and value our employees and maintain a culture of direct dialogue with them.

“People are employed in a range of positions, from operations managers to engineers, HR and IT roles to employees who will handle orders at the fulfilment centres.

“Outside of the Christmas period, the majority of our total UK fulfilment centre workforce is made up of permanent employees.

“To manage variation in customer demand and as a way of finding high-quality permanent employees we also engage seasonal employees.”