In an open letter to Amazon’s employees addressing concerns around Coronavirus, e-commerce company’s CEO and Founder Jeff Bezos predicted things getting worse ahead. “Across the world, people are feeling the economic effects of this crisis, and I’m sad to tell you I predict things are going to get worse before they get better,” he said in the letter published on the company’s blog on Saturday. While it is the time “when the work we’re doing is its most critical” Bezos said the processes for logistics, transportation, supply chain, purchasing, and third party seller have been changed to prioritize “stocking and delivering essential items like household staples, sanitizers, baby formula, and medical supplies.”
The company, said Bezos, is hiring for 1 lakh new roles and raising wages for its hourly workers delivering orders. As per a Reuters report, hourly workers at the company’s US warehouses will get double pay for working overtime after 40 hours from March 15 till May 9. Earlier this month the company had also announced the Amazon Relief Fund by initially putting $25 million to it for “our independent delivery service partners and their drivers, Amazon Flex participants, and seasonal employees under financial distress during this challenging time,” the company said a blog post. Bezos is currently the world’s richest man as per the Bloomberg Billionaires Index with a net worth of $114 billion.
However, Amazon warehouses in the US, France, and Italy saw protests by workers as the company tried to operate normal shifts, Financial Times reported. On the other hand, A CNN report on Friday said that warehouse workers are petitioning Amazon to give paid sick leave irrespective of whether someone is Coronavirus positive tests positive for coronavirus. “Much of the essential work we do cannot be done from home. We’ve implemented a series of preventative health measures for employees and contractors at our sites around the world,” said Bezos even as “there is no instruction manual for how to feel at a time like this, and I know this causes stress for everyone,” he added. The company has already placed orders for “millions of face masks” for employees and contractors who cannot do their work from home but “very few of these orders have been filled”, Bezos said, due to the global shortage.