Campaigners to protest Amazon's 'pandemic profiteering' outside Lancaster Castle
Campaigners will be outside Lancaster Castle this morning, Wednesday, to protest about Amazon’s treatment of workers and to expose 'price gouging' at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Unite, Britain's leading union, has submitted the first formal complaint to the CMA (Competition & Markets Authority) against Amazon for abuse of its market position in relation to price gouging at the height of the pandemic.
Vulnerable and older people who had to stay at home and those who relied on home deliveries would have been particularly exposed to inflated prices for essential items on the Amazon website, says Unite, which is calling for Amazon to repay the overcharges.
They use examples such as Carex antibacterial hand lotion, which usually costs around £1. In March 2020 the price on Amazon increased to £26.41, while the price of a Braun Thermoscan 7 digital thermometer shot up more than £100 – going from £39.99 to £149.99.
Campaigners continue to raise awareness of Amazon’s poor working conditions and anti-trade union tactics. The union is calling on Amazon to sign up to a declaration of neutrality, which includes commitments that recognize workers’ rights to unionise.
As part of the Action on Amazon campaign, Unite research has uncovered evidence of 'price gouging' throughout 2020.
Fifty different items have been identified that were being sold on the Amazon site for at least double their usual price from March 2020 to November 2020 onwards.
They include soap, antibacterial spray and wipes, washing up liquid, hand wash, bleach, thermometers, face masks, toilet paper, disposable gloves, sanitary products, vitamins, toothpaste, Sudocrem, tea and tinned food.
Sharon Graham, Unite executive officer for organising and leverage, said: “Amazon is steeped in corporate irresponsibility, from its anti-union tactics to tax avoidance.
"Now Amazon stands accused of profiting from price gouging on its website at the height of the pandemic when vulnerable people were most at need. It's time for Amazon to be held to account."