Amazon needs to do better for employees: Bezos

LOS ANGELES: Amazon needs to do better at taking care of its employees, Jeff Bezos said in his final letter to shareholders as chief executive officer of the online retail giant.

Bezos pointed to the recent union election outcome at one of Amazon’s Alabama warehouses as an example of why the company needs to address challenges within its workforce. Last week, Amazon secured enough votes to defeat a unionization drive at its Bessemer, Alabama, warehouse.

“While the voting results were lopsided and our direct relationship with employees is strong, it’s clear to me that we need a better vision for how we create value for employees,” Bezos, the world’s richest man, wrote in the letter. “I think we need to do a better job for our employees,” he said.

Bezos also disputed previous media coverage of working conditions at the company, including the criticism that the pace of work inside its warehouses is too strenuous. Bezos said there’s an impression of Amazon workers “being desperate souls and treated as robots” but that’s inaccurate.

“We don’t set unreasonable performance goals,” Bezos said. “We set achievable performance performance goals that take into account tenure and actual performance data.”

The letter is Bezos’ final annual letter to shareholders as he’s set to step down as CEO in the third quarter. Andy Jassy, CEO of Amazon Web Services, will take over his role.

Amazon, the second-largest private employer in America, has been criticised by some of its 800,000 employees for having harsh working conditions.

Bezos pushed back against that criticism in his letter, saying that reports that the company’s workers were treated “as robots” were inaccurate.

Bezos, who is stepping down later this year as CEO of the company he founded in 1994, said he planned to work on how to make Amazon’s workhouses safer in his new role as executive chairman.



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