AMAZON has been accused of enforcing "mandatory overtime, intense surveillance and break-neck targets" following a day of campaigning in the region.

Unite made the allegations as it continued its "Action on Amazon" campaign this week, accusing the retailer of stifling efforts for workers to join a union.

But Amazon has again refuted any suggestion it is treating workers poorly as it said it already offers "excellent pay and benefits" in a "safe, modern" work environment.

An Amazon spokesperson said it places "enormous value" on holding daily conversations with its workers across its Fulfilment Centres.

On Thursday, protesters visited the Stadium of Light in Sunderland and Penshaw Monument near Shiney Row where they held demonstrations.

It came as Unite urged Jeff Bezos to sign declaration of neutrality which the union claimed would guarantee workers the freedom to talk with and form a union without fear.

It made the comments as it said the retailer's first-quarter profit more than tripled from a year ago, fuelled by the growth of online shopping.

Unite executive officer, Sharon Graham said: “Amazon’s profits have tripled off the backs of workers who have been essential during the pandemic.

"But the company continues to be plagued by reports of poor working conditions and anti-union tactics.

"Amazon workers are not currently free to join a union without fear, and without obstruction and propaganda being deployed against them. 

"Workers have serious concerns about issues such as bullying, mandatory overtime, intense surveillance, break-neck production targets and much more besides.

"Amazon workers need an independent voice to stand up against injustices in the workplace. 

"Unite has recently written to Jeff Bezos in response to claims from the company about respecting UK workers’ rights to join and form a union.

"Our union is calling on the company to make a clear commitment and sign up to a declaration of neutrality. 

"The declaration would guarantee workers the freedom to talk with and form a union without fear.

"If the company is genuine then it should be more than happy to sign the declaration."

'The unions know this'

But robustly defending the claims made by Unite and again repeating that workers were offered a "safe" work place, the retailer said it respects its employees' rights to join or form a union, which Unite "already knows." 

A spokesperson for Amazon said: “We respect our employees’ right to join, form or not to join a labour union or other lawful organisation of their own selection.

"Across Amazon, including in our fulfilment centres, we place enormous value on having daily conversations with each associate and work to make sure direct engagement with our employees is a strong part of our work culture.

"The fact is, we already offer excellent pay, excellent benefits and excellent opportunities for career growth, all while working in a safe, modern work environment.

"The unions know this.”

Amazon has sites in Durham and Darlington, and is set to open a third warehouse in Gateshead later this year.