Thank you for contacting me about Amazon and employee working conditions.
Just because a business operates online, does not mean its responsibilities to society are any less. Amazon has close to a one-third market share of e-commerce in this country and I read the points you raised with interest.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is the independent regulator for work-related health, safety and wellbeing. HSE has published guidance on warehouse safety which employers must follow. This includes detailed information on how to carry and load and how to mitigate risks, including how to prevent injuries. The full guidance can be found online at: https://www.hse.gov.uk/logistics/warehousing.htm
With the additional safety risks posed by Covid-19, I am pleased that the HSE is conducting spot checks and inspections on businesses to ensure they are adhering to Covid-secure guidance and keeping employees safe.
If an employee feels their workplace is not safe, due to health and safety issues or Covid-19 measures, they can report it to their local authority or the HSE to investigate. No employee should feel unsafe at work and, if they do, they may want to initially raise it with their employer to see if any action can be taken to reduce risk and ensure safety.
On taxation, it would not be appropriate for me to comment on individual taxpayers. However, it is right that companies pay the tax that they owe the Exchequer so that the Government can fund the public services that we all rely on and invest into infrastructure, renewables and other schemes to benefit the UK and create jobs. That is why the Digital Services Tax for online companies was introduced to ensure that search engines, social media platforms, and online marketplaces pay UK tax that reflects the value they derive from UK users.
I know the Government expects Amazon, like all organisations who process personal data, to comply with the UK’s Data Protection legislation, including the Data Protection Act 2018 and the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003.
On competition, a new Digital Markets Unit within the Competition and Markets Authority will be established from 2021-22. The Government will consult on proposals for a new pro-competition regime for digital markets in early 2021.
Finally, you mention Amazon’s environmental policy and, for such a profitable multi-national company, it seems only right that they lead the way in championing sustainability and environmental business policies. I welcome the steps that Amazon has taken so far in an effort to decarbonise and encourage the company to continue with its Science-Based Targets commitments and move quickly towards Net Zero, including working with companies in its supply chains.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
Craig Whittaker MP