June 20, 2021

criticism of Amazon for the cubicles ‘Amazen’ against the stress of its employees


A promotional message that has become the focus of criticism. Amazon launched a few days ago ‘WorkingWell’, which the American e-commerce giant sums up as a “new program that helps Amazon employees focus on their physical and mental well-being.” The multinational promoted one of its initiatives, Amazen, on Twitter a few days ago. These are small cabins at the service of your operations employees, supposedly to combat stress and provide well-being through “short videos” and meditation and ‘mindfulness’ exercises. Amazon later deleted the tweet in the face of numerous critics who branded the cubicles as booths “to cry”, a “dystopian” initiative and “cabinets of despair”, among other mentions, and which called on the company to improve working conditions in your employees.


The 'Amazon method': this is how the e-commerce giant dodges taxes

The ‘Amazon method’: this is how the e-commerce giant dodges taxes

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“The ZenBooth is an interactive kiosk where you can browse a library of mental health and mindfulness practices to recharge your batteries,” explains Leila Brown, the director of the AmaZen occupational health and safety program in the promotional video tweeted by the Amazon News account on May 16 and that the multinational later deleted.

The economist Julen Bollain has spread the video of the initiative on his Twitter account. “Less ‘AmaZen’ and more respect for labor rights,” he writes.

The advertisement shows that the ‘Amazen’ cabin consists of a small cubicle, placed in one of the multinational’s large logistics plants, which contains little more than a table with a computer, a chair and some shelves with some plants. The roof of the cabin is painted to simulate the sky, with clouds, and there are also some planks on one of the walls. Amazon, founded and run by billionaire Jeff Bezos, states on its website that “employees can watch short videos with easy-to-follow wellness activities, such as guided meditations, positive affirmations and calming scenes with sounds.”

The announcement that was broadcast, and later deleted by the multinational, received many criticisms and mockery from users of the social network, such as those shown below.

The leader of Más País, Íñigo Errejón, has also joined in the criticism. The political formation has highlighted in its discourse and agenda the importance of mental health.

elDiario.es has consulted Amazon about this initiative, if it is underway in Spain or will be soon, but so far it has not received a response.

Calls to reduce precariousness

Many of the criticisms of Amazon’s initiative recalled several of the labor practices for which the electronic giant has made headlines, such as complaints of anti-union conduct, of precarious working conditions such as excessive control over the workforce, no time even to go to the bathroom that leads workers to urinate in plastic bottles, the low wages compared to the huge profits of the company and the existence of false self-employed in the cast of their famous happy face packages.

In addition, the multinational is also subject to criticism for your fiscal maneuvers, which limit its contribution in the countries in which it operates. In a study by University of London professors and researchers Richard Phillips, Jenaline Pyle and Ronen Palan, called ‘The Amazon Method: how to take advantage of the international system to avoid paying taxes’ (edited by The Left in the European Parliament), some of the e-commerce giant’s tax strategies are revealed.

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