Adjournment debate

29 November 2022

I know many Australians have been looking around for a bargain as Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales continue this week, but this evening I want to shine a light on the behaviour of the company that’s been responsible for spreading Black Friday sales around the world, and that’s Amazon. We’ve all heard horrible stories about Amazon workers unable to take bathroom breaks and literally running between shelves in order to meet the company’s ridiculous performance targets. It’s clear Amazon has a long way to go in recognising workers’ rights in Australia.

The SDA union, where I’ve been a proud member and an industrial officer prior to coming to parliament, brought a case before the Federal Court on behalf of Amazon workers when an employee’s job offer was withdrawn after she told the company that she was pregnant. They reached a financial settlement earlier this year.

On Black Friday last year, Amazon called the police to try and have TWU officials, who were investigating safety concerns, removed from their warehouse in Western Sydney. Again, another clear example that Amazon has a long way to go in recognising workers’ rights in this country.

The Amazon Global Union Alliance is calling out Amazon for its terrible conduct. It’s squeezing every last drop from the workers who are responsible for the company’s success. This behaviour is even more reprehensible at a time when working people right around the world are struggling with the cost of living crisis.

I could not attend due to the Senate sitting last week, but I was proud to see the SDA union and the TWU rallying outside the Amazon warehouse in my home state of Victoria, in Dandenong. They had a very clear message: these workers are undervalued and their practices are unsafe and un-Australian. I don’t begrudge anyone trying to score a bargain as the sales continue, but I do urge all Australians to consider the workers that are behind the sales, behind the websites, to purchase from much more responsible businesses if you are able to do so.