Tag Archive | "Amazon"

The Contractors, Soon To Be Under “House Arrest”

If you have comitted no crime then wouldn’t you find it strange to be tagged? Just like a “scally,” so to speak, under house arrest.

Most contractors would scoff at the idea of being locked down in their house and monitored by outside forces. “I can leave the house at any time I want,” they would say.

However, a recent news story gives us a glimpse into a rather different Britain…one of tagging anyone that is on the job, even if it is a contracting job while working at home.

It is Amazon that have recently hit the headlines with news that they have successfully patented a wristband that will be attached to their employees, from the time they clock in and to the time they clock out.

The wristband is designed to track all kind of things, such as where the employee is at all times and how many times they move their hand per hour. If they sit down for just a minute to rest their hand, well, that could very well be a written warning, and before long it is the P45 and directions to the local job centre.

What has this got to do with contractors you might be wondering, especially those who work from home? Well, it might very well be true that Amazon will be using these wristbands on a traditional workforce, but how long will it be until everybody uses them? Not long in my opinion.

It might not be long until you get accepted for a contracting job that allows you to work from your laptop at home on the understanding you are prepared to be tagged. There might even be a night time curfew, and someone could even come round at regular intervals to check your whereabouts.

Think I am joking? Then think again. I’ve already reported on how robots are going to become a major force within the contracting scene within the next few years.

All of these robots will be tracked of course, and it is only a matter of time before they want to track everybody. Robot or no robot.

A recent report showed us that most Amazon factory workers are paid £18,000 a year and they are expected to get 250 items per hour of the shelf. That is a lot of hand movement per hour.

Now imagine a future where a work from home contractor is expected to do a certain amount of tasks per hour and never move from the home office.

If you did move, just to get a drink then an alarm would sound, and your overlords would immediately come into view through a sort of virtual reality portal.

“Get back to work,” they would say, and that is exactly what you would do because to ignore their commands would mean instant dismissal.

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Amazon steps in it again, once more completely unrepentant

Online retailer Amazon has been accused once again of engaging in tax avoidance here in the UK, yet once more the multinational has dismissed allegations.

When it comes to firms that have solid brass bollocks, Amazon is up the best (or should I say worst?) of them. Never mind that the multinational company has been accused more than once in the past of playing fast and loose with taxation rules. Now, Amazon has revealed that in excess of £11 billion was more or less laundered through a subsidiary of the retailer last year located in Luxembourg. Go ahead and wager a guess as to how much corporation tax the company actually paid in 2013.

If you guessed anything over £4 million, congratulations: you’re dead wrong. That’s right, a company that had more than £11 billion flowing through its coffers paid just £4 million to the taxman. The worst part about this is that it’s completely bloody legal thanks to a raft of loopholes that encourage multinationals to use offshore intermediaries to clean their dirty money!

So yes, technically Amazon hasn’t done anything illegal. Immoral and unethical? Absolutely. And notice how there’s nothing more than an anaemic outcry from policymakers when a multinational such as Amazon gets caught red-handed: there will be a bit of a row but nothing will change, I guarantee you. Meanwhile if even the smallest of small businesses does something even remotely similar to Amazon it gets the book thrown at them – how many times have I talked about freelancers and contract workers getting raked over the hot coals by HMRC because of tax avoidance issue?

I suppose that if you have shedloads of cash to grease the wheels of deceit, you can get away with anything in this world, eh? Honestly it makes me sick to my stomach. And Amazon isn’t the only multinational that pulls stunts like this either – big businesses such as Starbucks do much of the same to a different extent, yet nothing untoward ever happens to them yet once again you’re always hearing stories how contract workers are constantly being investigated by the tax authority for ‘not paying their fair share.’ Of course what’s happening is that you and I and freelance workers are ending up paying our fair share and then some to make up for these dishonest multinationals!

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