AMAZON staff in Newport will stage a protest this morning against what one trade union called the online shopping giant's "appalling" treatment of workers.

Members of the GMB union who work at Amazon's 'fulfilment centre', or warehouse, at the city's Celtic Business Park in Llanwern, will hold a demonstration there this morning after an investigation uncovered serious concerns over worker treatment and safety at the company's centres across the UK.

The GMB said its investigations had revealed hundreds of ambulance call-outs and serious incidents at Amazon fulfilment centres nationwide, as well as reports of staff resorting to desperate measures to meet corporate targets.

“The conditions our members work under at various Amazon sites are appalling," GMB national officer Mick Rix said, ahead of the demonstration.

“Workers are breaking bones, being knocked unconscious, and being taken away in ambulances.

“Amazon has spent a fortune on fluffy adverts saying what a great place it is to work. Why not spend the money making their warehouses less dangerous places to work?"

The GMB said its investigations into Amazon working practices across the UK had revealed:

  • More than 600 ambulance call-outs to Amazon warehouses over a three-year period;
  • More than 600 serious incidents reported to the Health and Safety Executive for injuries such as fractures, head injuries, and collisions with heavy equipment;
  • Workers having to urinate in bottles rather than take toilet breaks, and pregnant women having to stand for hours, to meet targets;
  • At least one pregnant woman reporting losing a pregnancy at work, saying an ambulance was not called and she went home on the bus in blood-stained clothes;
  • 87 per cent of Amazon workers surveyed saying they were in some form of constant joint pain.

No specific figures were available for incidents at the Newport site.

Today's protest coincides with Black Friday, one of the most popular and lucrative shopping days of the year.

Earlier this week, Amazon announced this year's Black Friday sales would be its "biggest ever".

But Mr Rix said the firm should do more to protect its workers.

“Amazon workers want Jeff Bezos (the company's founder) to know they are people - not robots," he said.

“It’s about time Mr Bezos showed empathy with the very people that have helped build his vast empire, and make sure it's not a Black Friday for Amazon workers.”

An Amazon spokesman said: “Self-interested critics have a vested interest in spreading misinformation about Amazon but the facts tell a different story.

"The truth is that Amazon already offers industry-leading pay, comprehensive benefits, as well as a safe, modern work environment.

“These groups are conjuring misinformation to work in their favour, when in fact we already offer the things they claim to be fighting for.

"You don’t have to take our word for it - or theirs. Come and see for yourself by registering for a tour at one of our fulfilment centres.”