Workers at an Amazon warehouse are having to urinate in plastic bottles rather than go to the toilet during their shifts, it has been claimed.
The reports came as crowds of protesters gathered outside the internet giant’s so-called fulfilment centres across the UK to demand improvement in workers’ conditions.
Demonstrations were held outside the company’s sprawling warehouses in Milton Keynes, Rugeley, Swansea, Peterborough, Warrington, Coventry and Doncaster on Friday.
Protestors coordinated by the GMB general trade union also demanded Amazon pays a “real and substantial” tax contribution in the country.
They are carrying banners and picket signs telling owner – and richest man in the world – Jeff Bezos: “We Are Not Robots”.
Union officials say they are taking action after more than 600 reports were made from Amazon warehouses to the Health and Safety Executive in the past four years.
A spokesman said: “These include workers using plastic bottles to urinate in instead of going to the toilet, and pregnant women have been forced to stand for hours on end, with some pregnant women being targeted for dismissal.”
The demonstrators have been joined at the protest by Jack Dromey, Labour MP for Birmingham Erdington, and six members of the CCOO Union from Spain who have been striking over the same poor working conditions there.
Other pickets have already taken place in Germany, Poland and United States this week to coincide with what the company calls Amazon Prime Day, when customers are offered big discounts.
Steve Garelick, GMB regional organiser, said the union was “keen to see a sea change from Amazon and that working with a union brings benefits”.
He added: “Until we see an improvement in workers’ situations we will continue to speak out.”
But a spokesman for Amazon said: “These groups are conjuring misinformation to work in their favour, when in fact we already offer the things they purport to be their cause — industry-leading pay, benefits, and a safe workplace for our employees.
”We can only conclude that the people who attend the events are simply not informed.
“We encourage everyone to book a tour of one of our fulfilment centres and compare our overall pay, benefits, and workplace environment to other retailers and major employers across the country.”