Nearly 20,000 employees of Amazon tested positive for the coronavirus between March and September. The American web store giant announced the incidence of infection in a blog, following criticism from employees and politicians that the company is not showing enough openness about workplace coronary events.
In total, 19,816 of the Amazon employees from the front line, i.e. employed in delivery, distribution centres or Whole Foods supermarkets, have been infected. A total of 1.4 million employees represents a percentage of 1.4%, according to the tech company.
This spring, workers and trade unions in several countries strongly criticised Amazon, which would do too little to prevent outbreaks of the coronavirus in busy distribution centres. The company itself stresses a lot to invest in tests. In November, the company wants to have enough capacity to take 50 000 COVID-19 tests daily at 650 locations.
According to Amazon, the published numbers indicate that the infection rate is below the average of its gigantic workforce. If Amazon workers were infected as much as in society as a whole, the number of coronary events in the internet should be 42% higher.
Nevertheless, there is criticism of Amazon.
“This is a very high number for a company that for a long time downplayed how many employees have become ill,” says Deborah Berkowitz, the former head of the U.S. Federal Labour Inspectorate.
Amazon is now challenging other large companies to come forward with figures on the number of employee infections. “This information would be more valuable if there were comparable data from large employers. This availability gives us the opportunity to measure the progress we are making.”