AMAZON has moved to clarify the situation surrounding a Covid-19 outbreak at its Coventry warehouse.
The online retail giant has refuted claims by the GMB Union over the way its workforce has been treated after eight employees tested positive.
The GMB claimed workers were frightened if they did not attend work whilst awaiting test results they would not get paid and that managers were cutting corners when it came to social distancing to speed up processes and achieve targets.
Amanda Gearing, Senior GMB Organiser said: “Amazon’s recklessness could turn Prime Day into a hive of infection.”
Amazon confirmed to the Observer eight people had been identified as having Coronavirus but that was down to the company’s testing scheme and workers who were self-isolating were on full pay.
The firm added as they were asymptomatic, those workers would have otherwise been out and about in the community.
It also denied any of the infected workers were in hospital, labelling the claims as ‘scaremongering and irresponsible’.
“Safety is our top priority at Amazon and we make sure safety is front of mind on Prime Day, just as it is during every day of our business.
“We firmly believe that if every person, including people with no symptoms, could be tested regularly, it would make a huge difference in how we are all fighting this virus.”
Since March Amazon had introduced an additional 150 significant process changes to ensure the health and safety of employees, including the provision of masks and additional cleaning to ensure the health and safety of our teams.
“We’ve already spent more than $800M on CovidD-19 safety measures, with investments in personal protective equipment, enhanced cleaning of our facilities, new process paths that allow for effective social distancing, and developing our own COVID-19 testing capabilities.”
He said as a next step a pilot had been started at a number of its sites for testing employees on a voluntary basis and positive feedback had been received from those employees participating.
And Amazon had built its own lab in Manchester to provide supplemental testing capacity to what the Government was already offering.
“We don’t yet know exactly how it’s going to shape up, but we continue to believe it’s worth trying.
“These are the actions of a company taking responsibility for the safety of its employees.
“Meanwhile, the union focuses on trying to drive headlines for their own ends.”