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Mexico: Amazon accused of violating labour law amid allegations of poor working conditions, excessive forced overtime and unfair dismissals for outsourced workforce

“Inside Amazon’s shadow workforce in Mexico”, 28 April 2021

After six months … at an Amazon warehouse near Mexico City as a contract worker, Jaime Hidalgo believed job security and brighter prospects beckoned…

… [W]ithin weeks he was fired when a stomach bug meant more bathroom breaks and less time on the warehouse floor.

He is one of 15 former Amazon.com Inc workers in Mexico who [said]… they were mistreated or unfairly dismissed after being recruited through labor agencies to work in warehouses for the e-commerce giant.

Interviews with workers, copies of pay slips, and WhatsApp messages from Amazon HR reveal that many had to work overtime beyond legal limits while others were let go without severance, forced to resign, or laid off after falling ill with COVID-19.

… Amazon … said it complied with labor law in all the countries where it operates and "nothing was more important than the safety and well-being" of its employees.

Three labor lawyers … said several of the practices described by the former Amazon workers broke Mexican labor law, from excessive forced overtime to the use of contractors for non-specialized work and layoffs without severance being paid.

In an interview, the head of Mexico's Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare's Decent Work Unit, Alejandro Salafranca, said … the conditions described by the former Amazon workers could be grounds for an inspection by labor officials, he said.

… Amazon said it was proud to contribute to the Mexican economy providing a wide range of jobs while complying with applicable legislation.

The findings come as a Mexican law to largely prohibit subcontracting has been passed - which supporters say will improve labor rights and could force Amazon and other companies to hire most of their workers directly as staff.