Why Is a Former Amazon Employee Set for a Hunger Strike at Seattle Headquarters?

© Provided by Guardian News Kivin Varghese
© Provided by Guardian News
Kivin Varghese

A former Amazon employee embroiled in a legal battle with the online retailer is set to go on hunger strike in an attempt to force the company to change business practices which he calls “deceptive and fraudulent”.

Kivin Varghese plans to start his vigil on Tuesday outside Amazon’s headquarters in Seattle in order to raise awareness of what he alleges are poor business practices and employee treatment by the company.

“I think if Amazon customers took a few minutes to look at this and see how Amazon treats employees they’d be shocked,” he said. “My goal with stepping it up with a hunger protest is really to drive more awareness of their practices and really what happens when people buy from Amazon. Every dollar that is spent at Amazon is going to fund this bad behaviour.”

Varghese is in the midst of a court case with the company, in which he claims wrongful discharge after he worked on an advertising platform for Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablet. Amazon has called for the claims to be dismissed, stating in court documents that Varghese was an “underperforming employee who had a difference of opinion with his employer”.

Varghese, who plans to only drink water during his protest, is calling for the company to add three items to its 14 leadership principles. He wants Amazon to commit to better treatment of employees, improve ethical standards and “make decisions that are better for our environment”.

He is also asking for customers to boycott Amazon on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the two major US shopping days that fall after the Thanksgiving holiday, and wants workers to strike or take sick days in protest at conditions.

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Source: The Guardian | Lanre Bakare and Oliver Laughland

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