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Workers at Amazon warehouse in Manesar denied water and toilet breaks; NHRC initiates suo motu action

A media report has brought to light disturbing allegations regarding the working conditions at Amazon warehouse in Manesar, Haryana, prompting the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to take suo motu cognisance.

According to the report, a 24-year-old worker at the Amazon warehouse was allegedly compelled to sign a pledge abstaining from toilet or water breaks until they completed unloading packages from six trucks, each 24 feet in length, following the team’s 30-minute tea break.

Expressing grave concern over potential violations of labour laws and guidelines issued by the Ministry of Labour and Employment, the NHRC issued a notice to the Secretary of the Union Ministry, seeking a detailed report on the matter within one week.

In a press release, the Commission underscored its worries regarding the reported allegations despite existing pro-worker laws and policies of the government. The report also highlighted claims from a female employee at the warehouse, asserting the absence of restroom facilities at the work site.

Labor associations in India have accused five warehouses in and around Manesar of breaching regulations outlined in the Factories Act of 1948. Additionally, a worker interviewed in the report, who earns ₹10,088 per month while working ten hours a day for five days a week, stated logistical limitations even if they work continuously without breaks, including the mandated 30-minute lunch and tea breaks.

Another worker, a woman, disclosed standing for nine hours daily and facing the demand to assess 60 small products or 40 medium-sized products per hour during her shifts.

The report also noted that Amazon has faced similar accusations internationally.

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