Published: 00:00, 28 April 2014 |
Updated: 10:35, 28 April 2014
Rumours that an internet shopping giant could occupy a new warehouse in Ashford have been confirmed amid concerns over employee’s rights, according to a worker's union.
The GMB claim to have a leaked Ashford Borough Council (ABC) paper which would confirm in writing, for the first time publicly, Amazon's interest in the Sevington depot.
The release kicks of a campaign at the union to ensure decent jobs and good pay at the proposed Sevington Park retail development and others like it.
Martin Smith, a national organiser at GMB, said: “We want the Ashford public to understand that the high tech way Amazon process orders and tracks inventory disguises that it is also a traditional labour intensive mail order retail business.
"It relies on a road network funded by taxpayers for the business to business delivery of products to warehouses and for the business to customer delivery to private homes. It relies on large numbers of staff to receive the goods, to pick and pack them to meet customer orders.
"Where it differs from other retailers is its refusal to pay proper taxes or to treat its workers properly.
"This gives Amazon an unfair competitive advantage and is part of the reason why so many established high street names are going to the wall.
"It is time to strip away the high tech image and expose the exploitation involved in their business model."
We first reported speculation that the American multinational might be possible tenants for the proposed distribution centre to the north east of Highfield Lane in February last year.
But ABC and the firm have both remained tight-lipped over the suggestion.
The GMB say they will release a copy of the council paper, part of a financial report, early next week.
Amazon has operations in Croydon, Doncaster, Dunfermline, Edinburgh, Gourock, Hemel Hemstead, Milton Keynes, Peterborough, Rugeley, Swansea, Slough, Holborn in London, Dublin and Cork.
The company reported in February last year that it employs more than 5,000 permanent employees across the UK and a further 10,000 to 15,000 casual staff throughout the year.
Amazon plans to double the number of warehouses it operates in Britain in the next three years.
Don't miss out, subscribe today. Keep up to date with our newsletters.
A guide for your future. For year 11 students in Kent and Medway. Click here for the e-edition.
Education, Training & Childcare is a special supplement published by KM Media Group four times a year. Click here for latest e-edition.
Get the latest food and drink news, recipes from some of the nation's top chefs plus updates from Kent's vineyards and breweries.
Search in your local area to find your perfect partner in Kent, with FreshStart Dating! PLUS, register for free!.
Find out what's going on in the garden, with Kent expert Lucy Hewett's weekly update.
Buy pictures that you've seen in a KM newspaper, or send in a picture and we will place it on our photo sales website so that you can purchase a super, unique gift.