Amazon's intense warehouse working conditions are being turned into a play featuring a robot made from delivery boxes
- A new play about Amazon's working conditions is coming to a theater in Edinburgh, Scotland, in August.
- Creators Kezia Cole and Richard Hay spent two years working on "Fulfilment" and interviewed more than 70 Amazon workers.
- Many of the workers who they spoke with were "pickers" and "packers" in the fulfillment centers; snippets from their conversations reveal their intense experience working there.
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Amazon's warehouse working conditions have been the subject of many a news story in recent years — and now they're being taken to the stage.
According to The Guardian, creators Kezia Cole and Richard Hay spent two years working on "Fulfilment," a new play about warehouse working conditions at Amazon, which will be shown at the Underbelly Cowgate in Edinburgh, Scotland, this August and is performed with puppets.
The duo interviewed more than 70 Amazon workers over the course of three weeks, and have included the material that they gathered from these interviews in the production. Their hope is that this play will encourage others to shop more consciously. "It's about showing people what their choices mean," Cole told The Guardian.
Many of the workers that they spoke with were "pickers" and "packers" in fulfillment centers — the employees that are responsible for finding and sorting packages to be sent out to the customer — and snippets from their conversations reveal their intense experience working there.
"They give me 15 seconds from pick to pick," one person said. "Do you know what you can do in 15 seconds? Can't even register the thing you're picking."
Others said that the warehouses are so large that they can take up to seven minutes to cross, making it impossible to stick within the allotted 10-minute bathroom break. One worker said he felt he had to pee in the trash to save time.
These employee accounts aren't necessarily novel at this point. Over the past few years, several reports have surfaced of workers being forced to pee in bottles to save time and meet targets; one writer who went undercover working in an Amazon warehouse in England compared the working culture to a "prison."
Employees have begun to protest against what they describe as "brutal" working conditions. Only this month, thousands of workers across Europe and the US organized a strike during Prime Day, one of its busiest shopping periods.
In a statement emailed to Business Insider, a spokesperson for Amazon said that the company is providing good jobs for over 27,500 people across England. "The reality of our fulfillment centers is that employees receive industry-leading pay, great benefits, and a safe, modern work environment," he said, adding: In fact, LinkedIn this year named Amazon as the No1 place where people in the UK want to work."
The play is not only about workers' rights, however. It also touches on the increasing involvement of artificial intelligence and robots in Amazon's logistics process. A character called Robox — a puppet in the shape of a robot made from Amazon delivery packages — plays out the role of a factory robot.
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