The gig economy that’s popping up around apps and smartphones is causing debate on who is an employee and who is a contractor. In terms of legal rights, there’s a big difference in who is entitled to what benefits. Amazon is coming under fire for what some of the delivery drivers speaking out against their working conditions and contracts, claims Gizmodo.
Amazon is a massive company
Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, is a very rich man with a business empire that’s growing constantly, moving into as many areas as it can, and enriching Bezos more each day. One-third of the dollars spent online is done in the Amazon marketplace, putting the company well ahead of any other site.
So, Amazon and Bezos aren’t exactly unable to pay their delivery drivers a living wage. There’s also an issue with delivery drivers lacking rights and having to compete to get work, or what’s called “Blocks” through an app. Blocks have different times, delivery routes and deliveries to make.
What do the drivers think of Amazon Flex
Drivers for Amazon claim they are given trouble by the Fulfillment Centre if their vehicles are unable to fit the packages or if they return with a package. It has been alleged that if a driver makes two mistakes, then they’re fired from their position. That’s a problem with the gig economy – Those at the top, like Bezos and former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, make millions while those driving, helping them to make money, aren’t given benefits and can be discarded at a whim.
Amazon’s Flex app is a problem as well. It’s not difficult to use, but it can there are ways it can be hacked so some drivers get jobs ahead of others. The drivers are all fighting to get their blocks, to get paid and to earn a living wage. The blocks in the Flex app are put up randomly, so no one knows when they’re going to become available or when they’re going to be able to work.
The drivers also have little to no legal recourse. Amazon has its drivers sign a contract that states drivers aren’t able to get together to form a class action lawsuit against the company. “It’s too bad that Amazon is continuing to pursue these structures because it doesn’t have to. All it has to do is pay the minimum wage, that’s all,” general counsel and program director for the National Employment Law Project Catherine Ruckelshaus said, sounding defeated. “It seems like they’re jumping through a lot of hoops to avoid being an employer for not really a good economic reason.”