top of page
Amazon cleaner forced to walk miles in freezing cold
Amazon cleaner forced to walk miles in freezing cold

22 December 2022 at 12:00:00

A sub-contracted cleaner for Amazon is blocked from getting Amazon transport – leaving her to walk for an hour in the cold after 12-hour night shift.

CAIWU member, Lidia Suyapa Tabora Portilo, a cleaner at the Amazon logistics centre in Basildon was blocked from getting Amazon transport and forced to walk in the freezing cold for hours after her 12-hour night shift.

Ms Tabora is employed by Phosters FM Ltd (“Phosters”) and started working at the Amazon DSS2 site in Basildon ("Amazon site") in May 2021. She worked from May 2021 to December 2021, during which time her and her fellow colleagues were offered transport by Amazon from the train station to the Amazon site (and back). All Phosters cleaners were part of a WhatsApp group chat, where they jointly booked the Amazon bus to transport them at a convenient time for all.

8 cleaners (including Ms Tabora) had their employment terminated in December 2021. Ms Tabora was then re-employed in March 2022 and is now the only cleaner working the night shift at the Amazon site. She works Monday to Thursday from 10 pm to 6 am and also works on Saturdays from 6 pm to 6 am and Sundays 6 pm to 6 am.

In May 2022, a new Amazon manager was introduced and stated the that cleaners were not essential/key Amazon workers. Ms Tabora has always stressed that it was essential that transport was provided to the Amazon site, given the poor links from the train station to the site on public transport meaning that the only means of getting to work is with the minibus provided by Amazon. Despite the new policy, she was still let on the Amazon minibus.

However, from Tuesday 29th November onwards the driver of the minibus told Ms Tabora that he did not have authorisation to allow her on the bus. On the evening of the 30th November she begged the driver to take her to Amazon regardless, which he did. However, the following morning transportation was again refused, and one of the security guards drove her to the nearest train station. On 1st and 2nd December, another security drove her to the train station. On the evening of the 3rd evening, she worked her usual 12-hour shift, and that morning the bus driver refused to drive her alongside other Amazon workers to the train station. She had to then walk to the train station from the Basildon Amazon site for hours in the cold. She has since lost her voice and went to hospital on 5th December, where she was prescribed antibiotics for suspected bronchitis.

Ms Tabora is immensely distressed, as she does not know who to go to regarding this issue. She cannot rely on friends and family to drive her to the station. She is currently unwell, and afraid of going into work as she might get stranded after a whole 12-hour shift and be made to walk for 3 hours to the train station in the cold.

Ms Tabora, said “I nearly got hypothermia after that walk home. The doctor said I should rest and had to be on oxygen for a while. I still haven’t fully recovered, and I’m worried I’m reverting back. I clean for more than 100 Amazon workers. On the day shift, it’s three people. But at night it’s just me. I just want basic respect.”

Henry Tufnell, CAIWU organiser, stated “Too often workers get caught between their employer (the subcontractor) and the principal company meaning that they often have little recourse to remedy the issue at hand. In this case both companies seem to be content to allow a vulnerable worker to walk miles back and forth from the train station to the Amazon DSS2 site in the early morning and late at night without any thought to her welfare. We call on Amazon and her employer Phosters to issue a public apology to our member and ensure that this never happens again.”

Further reading can be found via the link below:

bottom of page