Amazon Machine Tells Delivery Man That You are Fired
Amazon is automating much of the operation of its warehouses, to the point that its delivery people can lose their jobs if a program decides that it has not performed enough.
One day you get up anda machine tells you that you are fired deliver Amazon packages in your city and the next day a notification arrives on your mobile in which and that you no longer have to go back to the warehouses. No option to reply or exact reasons for the dismissal or anything: you are on the street.
This is the reality of many Amazon deliverers in the US. Specifically, from the workers of Amazon Flex, the courier service powered by the company in which freelancers (‘contractors’, in the US) deliver the goods as an alternative to UPS, Fedex, DHL and other private courier services.
This type of service, in which individuals make Amazon deliveries and take a commission for each order, also exists in Spain and has been widely criticized for the insecurity faced by so many consumers, who can see how their packages are not delivered properly; as well as the delivery men themselves, who have to use their own vehicle and are not hired by Amazon or have guaranteed stability.
As published by Bloomberg, a large number of workers see how overnight they have been left without work and have not had a confirmation of any kind of problem from a human superior: it all depends on what the machine considers to be well or badly done.
The big problem with this system would be the lack of evaluation capacity of an algorithm, which does not take into account traffic or bad weather when establishing the optimal delivery time of an order, to cite one of the many examples that Those are considered.
Every mistake that is made working with Amazon is punished and taking a detour that is not on a road, with the delay that this may entail in delivery, is rated negatively and the machines will take it into account when renewing the contract with the dealer on duty.
In the same way, when it is done automatically and as a message through the application that is used to accept orders in Amazon Flex, there is no option to reply and you never know exactly why the employment relationship ended.
Perhaps all this is due to the beliefs of Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon who this week has retired as CEO of the company, and who considers that everyone is lazy by nature.
It is not the first time that the man-machine relationship at Amazon has brought problems of this kind. One case that raised a cry last year was that of a group of 300 Baltimore warehouse employees, whose work was evaluated exclusively with machines, was fired for underperformance.
Amazon is one of the largest companies in the world and one of the most labor-intensive companies in the US, where the hours and working conditions of employees have been criticized for being impassive and inflexible. In the past, there has been a lot of talk about the cases of workers who cannot make stops to go to the bathroom, because their schedule does not allow it, and end up relieving themselves in plastic bottles. This is something that Amazon has emphatically denied on all occasions, but the evidence is clear.