Artificial Intelligence: Japanese Drivers Unionize Against Amazon Protesting Unrealistic, AI-Drawn Routes

The Amazon drivers also protested long hours and an excessive number of deliveries without overtime pay.

A labor movement is spreading across Amazon Japan, with delivery drivers in Nagasaki organizing themselves into a union, months after drivers in Yokosuka took a similar step. The group of 15 drivers in Nagasaki are protesting the ecommerce giant’s long hours and excessive load of deliveries without overtime pay, as well as impossible-to-execute delivery schedules and routes set out by the company’s AI system. (Bloomberg)

The actions by Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) workers in Japan add to protests by employees at Amazon locations around the world accompanied by formation of unions against the company’s management techniques that are alleged to adversely affect its warehouse and logistics personnel. Joining the actions are sub-contractor employees demanding an official labor contract directly with the company.

Subcontract drivers in Amazon do not qualify for overtime pay or insurance. They are required to work as long as 11 hours a day, as well as shoulder all expenses of their vehicles.

“The AI often doesn’t account for real-world conditions like rivers or train tracks or roads that are too narrow for vehicles. The results are unreasonable demands and long hours,” said Tatsuya Sekiguchi, the vice executive chairman of Tokyo Union.

In an email to Bloomberg, Amazon clarified that it worked with contractors to set “realistic expectations that do not place undue pressure on them.” It also clarified that it did not manage or pay the drivers.

However, a driver told The Register : “Parcels have significantly increased since about a year ago, following the introduction of an artificial intelligence system to manage our delivery destinations. I put in more than 12 hours a day.”

Related Story: AI Cameras In Amazon Delivery Vehicles Unfairly Penalize Drivers

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