Minister seeks Amazon talks over 'unacceptable' working condition claims

13 December 2016, 16:36

Scotland's Economy Secretary wants a meeting with Amazon bosses following allegations of "unacceptable'' working conditions at the internet retailer's largest UK distribution centre.

Keith Brown said he was "concerned'' about the situation and hopes to raise the issues with the firm in the next few days.

The Sunday Times reported that staff at the company's Dunfermline depot in Fife could face the sack if they are off work ill for four days, even if they have a doctor's note.

Local MSP Willie Rennie raised the issue in Holyrood, asking what the Scottish Government's response was to "reports of intolerable working conditions''.

Mr Rennie, the Scottish Liberal Democrat leader and North East Fife MSP, said: "In one case the company penalised a worker for being in hospital with a kidney infection.

"The Scottish Government paid almost #1 million to Amazon last year even though it did not pay all its workers the real living wage.''

Mr Brown told him: "It's important all employees in all workplaces are treated fairly and the Scottish Government is doing everything it can within its powers to drive up employment standards and promote good working practices.

"I am concerned about the reports over the weekend and my office has been touch with Amazon, and we are working on establishing a meeting to take place in the next seven days so these issues can be raised.

"Of course these matters are of concern to the Scottish Government, as they would be of concern to anybody. It's important we do what we can to raise them.''

Mr Brown said that while the Scottish Government did not have the power to legislate to make employers pay the living wage, ``in the absence of that what we can do is make representations and speak to Amazon and make clear how we find these practices unacceptable, and that's what will happen over the next few days''

He added: "It's very important we do what we can to bring jobs to Scotland, which is the purpose of these grants.

"Of course it is also very important that we promote fair work and fair work practices, and that will be the focus of the meeting I will have with Amazon in the coming days.''

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