…it allows us to work with dignity
Everyone has the right to work in just and favourable conditions and be free to choose your work with a salary that allows you to live and support family. Everyone should receive equal pay for equal work.
You have the right to decent standards and dignity at work, and the right to join a union to protect yourself and your rights. That might come as a shock to Amazon - who have been using Covid-19 as a reason to undermine those rights.
Chris Smalls, an organiser and now former Amazon warehouse assistant manager, led a walkout at a New York City facility and within days he’d been fired under a dubious pretext.
The walkout was to ensure workers’ safety - they were asking for the warehouse to be cleaned, more protective gear, and hazard pay after several of their coworkers had tested positive for Covid-19.
Amazon’s refusal to listen to their employees and employ basic protections for them is, undoubtably, part of why they have decided to buy thermal camera to temperature check their employees from a black listed company accused of helping China persecute Uighur muslims.
According to the World Health Organisation - temperature scanning isn’t necessarily helpful for identifying if someone is contagious; it identifies when people may be unwell - though not necesarily with coronavirus. The truth is that coronavirus is asymptomatic in a lot of people, and has a long incubation period. And bodily temperature changes aren’t just about being “unwell”; body temperature changes during menstruation cycle, for example.
‘Solutions’ such as these, come in a wider context of increased workplace monitoring and surveillance - generally bringing promises of efficency and productivity, with little regard for workers rights and well-being. And when Amazon workers have taken asked for reasonable and medically proved safety measures Amazon have moved to fire people
There is also the risk of exacerbating existing inequalities - often the most surveilled work places, whether in a warehouse, a call centre or as a delivery driver - are those where people’s job security and rights are the most precarious and these tools and data, can be used as a tool to target and sanction.
Privacy matters because it protects people’s rights to safety and dignity.
1. Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment. 2. Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work. 3. Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection. 4. Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests. Article 23, Right to work