Amazon workers 'walk out' over claims of lack of PPE and coronavirus safety measures at new warehouse site
AMAZON workers have claimed they face the sack if they walk out over coronavirus safety fears at its Darlington warehouse.
Contractors have complained about the "unacceptable and unsafe" conditions in the new warehouse, saying people are not social distancing and being provided with inadequate personal protection equipment.
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Amazon insisted it has "reminded" workers of the government's safety advice on social distancing.
However one worker told the Northern Echo colleagues face the sack if they "walked off" the site over safety concerns.
They said: "It's a big site and the Amazon building is huge and there is nobody wearing masks or gloves – people are not social distancing.
"Bosses have said if people walk off the site they will be sacked and replaced with someone else.
"The only way you can work safely is if there were five people on site. It's impossible. There are hundreds."
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A cleaner, who works for TC Facilities Management, accused Amazon of turning a blind to a "worsening" situation.
The worker said: "There is nobody enforcing social distancing rules, people are in very close proximity with each other.
"Cleaners do not have PPE, we have the worst rubber gloves to clean the area, no aprons and no masks.
"When I approached a manager about it they said 'you've got to sneeze and cough' over you to catch it.
"Workers who don’t feel safe are told they can have agreed unpaid leave – a few have already quit from the agency.
"Some have gone home with symptoms in the last two weeks."
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Amazon workers have previously complained about being squeezed into the canteen area during breaks.
The online shopping giant said it would ensure government advice on social distancing was "adhered to" at all times.
However new pictures emerged which appeared to show workers breaching the two metre social distancing rule.
Darlington Borough Council has received several complaints from contract workers at the warehouse.
In response, TC Facilities Management said: "We take seriously the responsibility we have to our people in keeping them safe and well at work, and so make sure that every colleague is provided with the correct equipment and tools for the jobs they are asked to complete, we can confirm that there is no shortage of the correct Personal Protective Equipment in any of our sites.
"We are working closely with our partners we have been able to go further to support our teams by providing face masks to all and also temperature checking everyone on entry to sites for all colleagues protection."
An Amazon spokesperson said: "Amazon is disappointed that some individuals working on the completion of the Darlington site have not complied with social distancing guidelines set by the contractors."
Last month a video emerged showing scores of people working close to each other at the PrettyLittleThing warehouse despite the coronavirus lockdown.
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