An undercover author has discovered that workers at an Amazon warehouse in Staffordshire, United Kingdom, often find no time to go on bathroom breaks and to save time have resorted to "peeing in bottles."
Author James Bloodworth, who is working on a book on low wages, went undercover to discover the staggering details.
"For those of us who worked on the top floor, the closest toilets were down four flights of stairs," Bloodworth told The Sun. "People just peed in bottles because they lived in fear of being disciplined over 'idle time' and losing their jobs just because they needed the loo."
According to the author, the rushed fulfillment workers, who run around Amazon’s warehouses “picking” products for delivery, have a “toilet bottle” system in place as the toilet is too far away.
A report released Monday also detailed that nearly three-quarters of U.K. fulfillment-center staff members were afraid of using the toilet because of time concerns. The report based on a survey stated approximately 241 Amazon warehouse employees in England were interviewed.
The survey quoted one person saying, the target has "increased dramatically" and "I do not drink water because I do not have time to go to the toilet."
In another survey participants noted: "The target grows every year. I do not have two more legs yet to make the 100% to pick, where you actually need to run and go to the toilet just during the break. Packing 120 products per hour is terribly heavy."
"You have to pack two products per minute. You do not have time to drink water because you go to the toilet after every evening sends messages to the scanner with the target and tells you to hurry," the participant added.
Amazon has, however, denied the accusations, saying it provides a safe and positive workplace.
"Amazon provides a safe and positive workplace for thousands of people across the UK with competitive pay and benefits from day one. We have not been provided with confirmation that the people who completed the survey worked at Amazon and we don't recognize these allegations as an accurate portrayal of activities in our buildings," the statement said.
"We have a focus on ensuring we provide a great environment for all our employees and last month Amazon was named by LinkedIn as the 7th most sought-after place to work in the UK and ranked first place in the US. Amazon also offers public tours of its fulfillment centers so customers can see first-hand what happens after they click 'buy' on Amazon," they added.
In January, Bezos donated US$33million of his fortune to a scholarship fund for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, while hundreds of Amazon employees have to rely on food stamps to feed themselves.
A December report placed the wealth of the world’s five wealthiest people – Bezos, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Amancio Ortega, the owner of Zara, and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg – at US$425bn of assets, an amount equal to one-sixth of the U.K.'s gross domestic product, with Bezos alone having a net worth of US$112 billion.