Protests against Amazon 'exploitation' at Brodsworth Hall and Cast in Doncaster

Protesters campaigning against ‘exploitation’ by retail giant Amazon have held demonstrations outside Doncaster’s Brodsworth Hall and Cast theatre.

Thursday, 12th August 2021, 10:01 am

Campaigners gathered outside the venues yesterday to protest about the firm’s treatment of workers and to expose price gouging at the height of the Covid 19 pandemic.

Unite, Britain's leading union, has submitted the a complaint to the Competition & Markets Authority against Amazon for abuse of its market position in relation to price gouging at the height of the Covid 19 pandemic.

Vulnerable and older people who had to stay at home and those who relied on home deliveries would have been particularly exposed to inflated prices for essential items on the Amazon website, the union says, and Unite is calling for Amazon to repay the overcharges.

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Protesters gathered outside Cast.

For example, Carex antibacterial hand lotion usually costs around £1. In March 2020 the price on Amazon increased to £26.41. The price of a Braun Thermoscan 7 digital thermometer shot up over £100 – going from £39.99 to £149.99.

As part of the Action on Amazon campaign, Unite has found 50 different items being sold on the Amazon site for at least double their usual price, including soap, antibacterial spray and wipes, washing up liquid, hand wash, bleach, thermometers, face masks, toilet paper, disposable gloves, sanitary products, vitamins, toothpaste, sudocream, tea and tinned food.

Sharon Graham, Unite Executive Officer for Organising and Leverage said: “Amazon is steeped in corporate irresponsibility, from its anti-union tactics to tax avoidance. Now Amazon stands accused of profiting from price gouging on its website at the height of the pandemic when vulnerable people were most at need. It's time for Amazon to be held to account."

Amazon has fulfilment centres in Doncaster as part of a huge network of warehouse space across the country.

Protesters also staged a demo outside Brodsworth Hall.

However, Amazon have strongly refuted the claims about its treatment of staff and say that they treat their employees extremely well.

An Amazon spokesperson said: “The fact is we already offer our employees excellent pay, excellent benefits and excellent opportunities for career growth, all while working in a safe, modern work environment.

"Our people have played a critical role in serving customers in these unprecedented times and the new roles help us continue to meet customer demand and support small and medium sized businesses selling on Amazon."