Amazon warehouse workers demand urgent measures to combat heatwaves


Amazon warehouse workers demand urgent measures to combat heatwaves

In response to escalating heatwaves, the Amazon India Workers Association (AIWA) has called on the Ministry of Labour and Employment and the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to implement immediate measures to protect warehouse workers. Northern and Western India have been severely affected by extreme temperatures, with April 2024 recording the highest temperatures since 1901. On May 27, Delhi experienced record-breaking temperatures of 49 degrees Celsius surpassing the previous high of 45.6 degrees set in 1941, prompting warnings from the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD).

Ravish, an Amazon warehouse worker and AIWA member, reported that workers are enduring unbearable heat in warehouses. Female workers often seek respite in washrooms due to inadequate temperature control in the facilities. On May 28, the dock area of the Amazon warehouse recorded 31 degrees Celsius, the canteen 32 degrees, and the stow section 34.2 degrees.

Pooja, another Amazon warehouse worker and AIWA member, claims that workers were forced to take an oath to meet targets without breaks for water or washrooms under intense heat.

Rajendra Acharya, Regional Secretary of UNI Global Union in Asia Pacific, added, “The conditions faced by Amazon warehouse workers in India are unacceptable. We demand that Amazon and other employers take immediate action to ensure the safety and well-being of their workers. This situation underscores the urgent need for comprehensive labour protections and the enforcement of existing laws to safeguard workers from extreme heat.”

AIWA Convener, Dharmendra Kumar, emphasized the unprecedented heatwave impacts: “India is experiencing its hottest year on record. The disaster authorities must declare this a disaster and take immediate and long-term measures to protect workers’ health and livelihoods.”

Kamal Kumar Niyogi, Legal Advisor to AIWA, referenced the Factories Act, 1948, stating employers are required to provide adequate seating for workers who must stand for long periods.

In light of these severe conditions, it is important to recognize that climate change is a significant factor contributing to the increasing frequency and intensity of such heatwaves. Scientists have warned that without significant global efforts to mitigate climate change, extreme weather events, including heatwaves, will become more common and severe. This trend underscores the urgent need for both immediate action to protect workers and long-term strategies to address the root causes of climate change.


AIWA’s Demands:

  1. The Ministry of Labour and Employment should urge the NDMA to declare heatwaves as disasters.
  2. Amazon and other platform employers should provide a heat surcharge during extreme heat periods.
  3. Implement a moratorium on card block during heatwaves.
  4. Ensure access to shade, drinking water, and toilets for all platform workers.
  5. Provide special training on heatstroke prevention, along with advisory and regular weather alerts.
  6. Supply protective gear, such as UV-protected shirts, sunglasses, sunscreen, and ORS, free of cost.
  7. Establish an emergency helpline for workers affected by heatstroke, with an app option for reporting.
  8. Compensate workers affected by heatstroke based on average daily earnings or minimum wage, whichever is higher.
  9. Maintain adequate temperatures across all warehouse locations.


UNI Amazon Global Union Alliance

UNI Asia & Pacific