International News

US: AMAZON HOLDING UP INVESTIGATION INTO EMPLOYEE DEATHS

Congressional Democrats on the House Committee on Oversight and Reform are accusing Amazon of “obstructing” their investigation into the company’s labor practices during severe weather events.

In a letter signed by committee members to the Amazon CEO, Congresspersons including, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, accused the company of failing to produce materials requested more than two months ago.

6 Amazon employees were killed last month, when a warehouse collapsed during a tornado, OSHA sent a letter calling on the company to address several risk factors that led to the deaths. Kelly Nantel, an Amazon spokesperson, said the company had supplied the requested documents and was “surprised” to receive the letter.

Source: Confined Space and Washington Post

US: 50 GIG WORKERS KILLED IN FIVE YEARS

Explaining the connection between safety and  independent contractor status, US Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley says “drivers are only put at greater risk because they have low pay, low wages, that pushes them to work longer hours and that pushes them to accept more rides, even when they feel unsafe”.

A recent report found that at least 50 gig workers have been killed over the past five years. There is a battle raging in Massachusetts between labour groups and gig companies like Uber, Lyft and DoorDash over a ballot measure that would maintain the independent status of drivers and delivery people instead of making them employees.

Labour advocates argue that the ballot measure would continue to misclassify drivers and delivery workers as independent contractors continuing to put drivers and deliverers in jeopardy.

Source: Confined Space and the New York Times.

UK: ‘CRIMINAL INJUSTICE’ AS WORKING PEOPLE DIED

Conservative ministers committed a ‘criminal injustice against working people’ by letting so many die unnecessarily during the Covid-19 pandemic, BFAWU’s national president has said. Speaking at the union’s conference, Ian Hodson said unions were the safe choice and called on workers to “organise in our workplaces and make demands to improve our lives.”

He said: “You can see the difference in lives lost in non-organised workplaces compared to ones which are organised by trade unions that have health and safety committees.” He added: “If people feel that they are unsafe in the workplace due to an outbreak of coronavirus, then they have the right to remove themselves. And if our members decide to take that action, this union will support them.”

Source: Risks, Morning Star and related story.

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