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Claim: Amazon employees are being forced to sleep in tents in order to get to work on time.
Summary: On December 16th, 2016, The Courier (a British regional newspaper) published an article claiming that workers at the Amazon Fulfillment Centre in Dunfermline, Scotland had to resort to sleeping in tents with other camping gear because of harsh working conditions forced by Amazon. Using internal sources of some of the employees, the article states harsh conditions because of low pay and long hours. Amazon themselves denied all claims and stated how they "provide a safe and positive workspace". Through research on the matter, the claim has been found to be true, but the details surrounding the article appear to not be factual and also contain political undertones.
The first place the place the article was posted was in The Courier, one of Britain's largest regional morning newspapers. The Courier provides local news for Stirlingshire, Perthshire, Fife, Angus & The Mearns and Dundee. Since its original posting in the Courier several other sites have ran with the story as well, such as the Guardian which was the most prevalent and the Independent which is known to have some influence. However, it is important to note that both websites cite The Courier as their first source. The article in the Courier was written by Craig Smith December 10, 2016. Smith is a Chief reporter at the local paper and lives in the surrounding area of Fife.
Issues and Analysis
While the claim appears to be true, it has been extremely exaggerated. The article implies that there is a large amount of workers that have to camp outside of the facility, a large enough number that it has become an issue that is Amazon's Fault. But in reality, the only evidence they have is a claim of "at least three tents found", only two of which they provide a visual description of, with no one in them just trash and a short quote by an unnamed worker. This worker ( 1) shares his reasoning for living in the tent and describes it as his own choice to make his a little life easier( 2). Another issue is the inclusion of politics with quotes from the Scottish Liberal Democrat Leader Willie Rennie MSP, who has had a prior issues with Amazon and discussing whether their wages were fair. The quotes ( 3) are inflammatory and very negative, they are also included in the other articles that ran this story. His part in the story turned a informative news story into a political one and that is why it became popular.