Living Wage petition heads for Amazon's office

Living Wage petition heads for Amazon's office

The organiser of a petition demanding that Amazon pay its warehouse employees the Living Wage is calling on people to join her in delivering the document by hand to the company’s London offices on 28th February.

Emily Kenway began the petition on Change.org in December calling on customers to think before they purchase Christmas gifts from the online retail giant, which she says doesn’t pay workers a “fair” wage they can live on.

Formerly an Amazon shopper herself, Kenway was moved into action after several news articles and a BBC Panorama documentary exposed the “demeaning” working conditions in the company’s warehouses in November.

The petition has now gained 54,000 signatures and, after several attempts to contact Amazon about the positive response to the petition have fallen on deaf ears, Kenway has decided to hand the petition in to Amazon’s London offices in person on 60 Holborn Viaduct at 1pm on 28th February.  She is calling on fellow signatories to join her.

“Despite some great media coverage and over 54,000 of you calling on it to pay up, Amazon failed to find its Christmas spirit and has remained silent,” she said. “As Amazon customers, workers, and concerned citizens, we need to give this company no choice but to listen up and listen hard. That's why on Friday, February 28th at 1pm, we’ll be delivering the petition to Amazon's London offices and publicly calling on Amazon to meet with us to about paying its workers properly.”

Kenway has also called on Amazon’s current or former warehouse workers to share their experiences of working there, which she told The Bookseller had seen a “positive response” so far. “A lot of the people signing the petition are Amazon customers and say so in the comments. How can Amazon be 'The Earth’s most customer-centric company' as it claims to be if they are ignoring 54,000 people who have signed that petition and are calling on them to listen, respond and take action? To not take any notice is rude and arrogant,” she said.

Kenway, a ShareAction employee, cited policies such as monitoring and timing toilet breaks, giving workers 15 minute breaks that start wherever they are in giant warehouses and a "sack if you’re sick policy" which sees workers let go if they are sick three times in three months as “disgusting” in the petition.

The current UK legal minimum wage is £6.31 an hour but the according to the Living Wage Foundation, the Living Wage rates - set annually by the Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University and the Greater London Authority - are £7.65 an hour for the UK and £8.80 for London.