Police were called in to remove union inspectors from the safety of an Amazon Flex delivery center in northwest Sydney after the company said they “did not meet relevant entry requirements.”
The Transport Workers Union said its officials were allowed into the facility to investigate “suspected serious security breaches” on Friday morning, only for management to call police.
They say the police allowed the inspections to continue because they had the legal documents for the right of entry.
TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said it was a “shame” that the police were even called.
“Everyday Black Friday – a day when transport workers are under extraordinary pressure – Amazon confirmed what we have always known: Making lethal profits is more important to them than protecting workers,” he said. Mr. Kaine said.
The company’s “anti-worker model of behavior” makes the roads less safe for workers and the community.
“Transportation workers deserve a federal agency to urgently raise safety standards and bring these behemoths into compliance,” Kaine said.
The TWU says its inspectors have observed cars overloaded with packages, blocking vision in mirrors and creating blind spots for drivers.
Amazon spokeswoman Jessica Makin told AAP that the company had allowed “a union official who met entry fee requirements” to enter the Bella Vista site this morning, but that two others “did not meet the relevant entry requirements” and then refused to leave.
“We take driver safety very seriously and we don’t want anyone driving on the road with an obscured view,” Ms. Makin said.
“There are no penalties when a delivery partner has raised concerns resulting in the withdrawal of packages for that block.”
Drivers “concerned about packages obscuring their view” can ask delivery station staff to help them repack their vehicle or remove as many as needed “to ensure the driver has visibility and can drive safely. “.
Ms. Makin says they can also “refuse to take their allocated block.”
Amazon’s commercial services public policy director for Australia and New Zealand, Michael Cooley, said during a Federal Senate job security inquiry in June that drivers are “not of workers, they are independent contractors “.
They drive their own cars and have to purchase their own insurance, but Amazon “matches the coverage they have.”
He said drivers are paid in four-hour blocks rather than hourly wages.
Each block pays $ 108, but independent contractors have until 10 p.m. in the evening to complete their deliveries, regardless of their start time, and Mr. Cooley said that “90 percent of drivers will complete deliveries … before the end of four hours “.
Mr Cooley said he was “unaware” that the police had been called twice by union inspectors at the request of Senate committee chairman Tony Sheldon, and that he did not know whether the Distribution center personnel would be allowed to call the police without first checking with the company. office in Australia.
“Unions are welcome to enter our sites in accordance with their legal rights in Australia, which they regularly exercise,” Cooley told the inquiry.
Associated Australian Press