Amazon drivers have revealed that they have to break speed limits in order to keep to their strict delivery schedule. The online retailer has also been accused of allowing drivers to work illegal hours and paying them less than minimum wage.
As part of a BBC investigation, an undercover reporter worked for AHC Services who provide Amazon Logistics with delivery drivers. The drivers told him that they must deliver up to 200 parcels a day while working for an agency contracted by Amazon.
Based at Amazon’s Bristol depot, the reporter worked for more than 11 hours a day delivering parcels.
It is against the law to drive longer than 11 hours a day. Drivers are legally required to take a break of at least 30 minutes after five and a half hours driving. Within a period of eight and a half hours, a driver must take at least 45 minutes in breaks.
Paid less than minimum wage
Some Amazon drivers were paid less than the £7.20 minimum wage because of the long hours worked delivering all their assigned parcels.
After deductions for van hire and insurance, the reporter received £93.47 for three days’ work in his first week. He was paid the equivalent of £4.76 an hour in his second week after working four days.
Pressure on drivers
The reporter says he uncovered a number of worrying aspects to Amazon’s delivery side of the business. Drivers claimed to go to the toilet in bags and bottles because there was no time for toilet breaks. And because of the huge pressure to deliver all the parcels, some drivers felt they had to drive quickly.
Amazon and AHC response
Amazon requires all agency drivers to be self-employed and paid a minimum of £12 per hour. They are not entitled to the national minimum wage, the national living wage, or holiday and sick pay. It says their drivers work at the pace they want, choose to take suggested routes and can take breaks as they wish. The agencies supplying drivers are required to make sure they are fully licensed and follow all traffic and safety laws.
The company said that its drivers drove an average of 8.5 hours a day and on duty for 9.1 hours over the last six months.
AHC also dismissed the BBC’s claims saying they were outdated and isolated examples. It says it’s made improvements to the way it works and carries out checks. It also said that it took road safety and the welfare of its drivers extremely seriously.