US-based ecommerce giant Amazon, on Monday, announced a ‘special recognition bonus’ for its India operations staff, worth INR 6,300 for full-time employees and INR 3,150 for part-time employees in the country. The bonuses are in line with similar payouts being made by the company to its employees in other countries, even as Amazon faces backlash from netizens, with #MakeAmazonPay trending on Twitter.
The contention is that Amazon made huge profits this year, but without proper consideration of the safety of its “front-line workforce” amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Several news reports have detailed that even as Amazon’s office staff has been asked to work from home amid the pandemic, workers in the company’s warehouses in countries such as France, Italy, Spain and Germany, among others, have had to work long hours in unhygienic work conditions, despite several workers returning positive test results for Covid-19.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has also faced the ire of his company’s employees, many of them protesting outside Bezos’ New York City apartment for months this year, calling out the work environment, sub-par warehouse safety standards and unfair pay. The fact that Bezos has added billions of dollars to his net worth amid the pandemic which has wrecked the global economy and left many jobless, has only aggravated the workers’ concerns about Amazon.
Closer home, smaller sellers on ecommerce platforms Amazon and Flipkart have complained about the two prominent etailers and their preferential network of sellers, who allegedly reap most of the benefits amid the huge demand during festive season sales from October-November.
Although, the disputes between Indian sellers’ associations and ecommerce players such as Amazon are long-drawn. In August this year, AIOVA had filed an antitrust case against Amazon with the Competition Commission of India (CCI), accusing it of anti-competitive practices through preferential treatment of seller entities such as Cloudtail, Amazon Retail and Amazon Wholesale, where it either holds a stake or they are its group companies.
Nevertheless, in a recent blog post, Dave Clark, senior vice president (SVP), Amazon Worldwide Operations, wrote, “India Operations employees who were employed by the company from October 16 – November 13 will qualify for a bonus of INR 6300 for full-time employees and INR 3150 for part-time employees.”
“Combined with other holiday pay incentives, in this quarter alone we are investing over $750 Mn in additional pay for our front-line hourly workforce, on top of our industry-leading pay. This brings our total spent on special bonuses and incentives for our teams globally to over $2.5 Bn in 2020, including a $500 Mn thank you bonus earlier this year,” he added.