House debates

Wednesday, 24 November 2021

Constituency Statements

Workplace Relations: Amazon, Genesis Owusu

10:15 am

Photo of David SmithDavid Smith (Bean, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Members of this chamber have an opportunity to provide an early Christmas present to retail, warehouse and transport workers by joining with the SDA, TWU and unions across the world calling for an end to poor working conditions and low wages for Amazon workers. As Black Friday sales begin this week, not just in America but also here in Australia and many other countries, Amazon workers will face undeniable pressure and stress to fulfil orders around the world.

The race to the bottom on wages and secure jobs is a global problem, and Amazon is a prime example. Amazon Flex drivers aren't even getting minimum wage. They have no rights and are pressured to drive dangerously overloaded cars to avoid being sacked on a whim. This week is a reminder that Amazon workers, who kept filling and delivering orders throughout the pandemic, deserve respect and have a right to a safe workplace.

While profits soar for Amazon, doubling in the first half of 2021 compared to 2020, workers are left with little or no pay rises, and working unimaginable hours without breaks. In too many of their sites across the globe, Amazon workers are forced to work in unsafe environments, often too afraid to speak out or join their union for fear of retaliation.

As a union for Amazon online retail workers, the SDA has worked tirelessly to stop the Americanisation of wages and working conditions in Australia. The TWU is also working hard to protect safe standards for transport workers who deliver Amazon's goods to consumers. From the day Amazon opened their first site in Australia, the SDA has worked to enforce and lift safety standards on those sites. The union has taken legal action to stand up for workers who face discrimination at work and has relentlessly pursued safety standards in Amazon's Australian sites.

The SDA and the TWU formed the Online Retail and Delivery Workers Alliance to further efforts to ensure that workers are protected in every step of the supply chain. A secure job with a fair wage does not have to be a thing of the past for Australian workers; it should be the Australian way. The SDA and TWU will not stand by and allow Australian working conditions to be undermined. It's time to make Amazon pay.

A quick shout-out to the magnificent Genesis Owusu, ex-MacKillop college student and Bean constituent, who is up for six ARIA awards tonight, including for Best Artist and Album for his debut, Smiling with No Teeth, off the back of winning triple J Album of the Year. As someone used to say: 'Do yourself a favour.'