Monday, 14 May 2012

The silent scandal of how Amazon is making us all poorer


An "Old Labour" poster....

But the message remains valid....is capitalism working for us, or are we working for capitalism?

Consider Amazon, who pay no corporation tax in the UK, despite annual sales over £3 billion.  It is well reported that this unfair advantage is killing our local book shops.

It's difficult to understand why there isn't a huge scandal that Amazon pay no tax in the UK, and have not paid any for over three years.  Only one UK newspaper has bothered to report the story

What is never reported is how Amazon are making the British people poorer.  Let me explain...

Traditional retailers such as Argos are struggling to compete with Amazon.  This is because Amazon have massively lower costs because they don't pay tax.

But other retailers don't complain about the tax.. Instead, in a futile effort to compete with Amazon, they cut costs by driving down pay and conditions for their own workers.  Amazon, who in value are worth ten Marks and Spencers, are such a dominant retailer that they are able to have this massive influence in driving down pay.  Many people don't realise that Amazon is a major employer in the UK, housing seven giant Warehouses. Law-abiding retailers barely stand a chance. After all, reputable British retailers pay corporation tax.  The silence of our tax-abiding companies is the only aspect of this scandal I find difficult to fathom...

The consequences are literally depressing.

This downward pressure on wages reduces tax receipts and job security, and leaves countless workers with less money to spend. Amazon are fuelling recession.

Because it's "online", many people don't realise that Amazon is a major employer in the UK, housing seven giant Warehouses.   It's minimum wage approach to pay is pushing downward pressure onto Warehousing wages across all sectors of the UK economy.  In short, the British people are buying cheap goods from Amazon, at a great cost to society.

But the scandal - and it is a scandal, of corporate tax avoidance means that we simply don't have a model of capitalism that is working for us.

What we have is a model of capitalism that is driving millions of us to the bottom.   Amazon is the main culprit in the retail sector. Most sectors of the economy have a culprit of their own.

Next up for me is what some call "mission impossible" - organising Amazon workers.  I will face extreme aggression in the face of hysterical union avoidance tactics. But like most things Trade Unions do, my work will very much be in the public interest

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