Delivery drivers working at Amazon, UK, the country’s largest private parcel courier, have reported a major drop in pay and the number of shifts being offered to them, and that no increase in petrol payments has been given to reflect the high fuel cost.
While they saw a rise in wages last year as pandemic restrictions were lifted and the economy was reopened, their hourly wages are now 12% less than they were in October and November, earning just over £14.60 per hour.
This is around £2 less than during the Black Friday and pre-Christmas rush, despite the UK having a shortage of skilled labor.
Some stated that they had an average cut of £20 a day in their pay from the temporarily increased rates that were introduced in October while having to deliver at least 60 more parcels during their shift.
Pavlina Draganova, Global Network Lead at Organise, a leading campaign group, stated that while the pay for drivers returned to the pre-Christmas peak season levels, for many it was a real-term cut due to the surging inflation and petrol prices.
Drivers revealed that the pay rates are also constantly changing, which makes it harder to manage the budget. One experienced up to five adjustments in daily rates since September, while others had two or three in the same period.
Some drivers who did not witness pay cuts said they were getting fewer shifts in the week, or were offered more at short notice, facing difficulty in planning ahead.
Many also complained that the per-mile rate was higher than what Amazon gave them for fuel, as prices have increased due to the war in Ukraine.
Amazon manages its network of drivers with the help of small companies that manage groups of drivers, which is the reason why pay rates are radically different throughout the country. These drivers have to work as self-employed independent contractors having no right to sick pay, holiday pay, and even the national living wage.
The company said it is assisting drivers with increased fuel costs and using ‘sophisticated technology’ to make sure that they are not burdened with too many packages in their routes.