‘Kill us or send us home’: Workers at Amazon in Saudi Arabia say recruiters exploited them
Workers at an Amazon-branded warehouse in Saudi Arabia say they were misled and exploited during recruitment, subjected to verbal abuse, and threatened with force when they asked to go home.
The allegations come from dozens of current and former employees, who describe a climate of intense pressure and fear, where workers were expected to work night shifts, unpaid overtime, and with no legal protections.
They also described a lack of access to toilet facilities, overcrowded dormitories with several people per room, and an inability to return home due to financial pressure related to their recruitment and monthly payments.
The allegations stem from the process with which workers are recruited and sent from India, Bangladesh, and other countries to Saudi Arabia to work at Amazon facilities, according to a New York Times investigation.
At least 100 workers at a warehouse in Riyadh said they had been threatened with violence by their employer when they asked to be repatriated. The workers said they were told: “Kill us or send us home.”
Amazon said it had conducted an investigation into the allegations and had found that workers had been misled and exploited in the recruitment process. It has since mandated better protections for its third-party employees, including medical insurance and better working hours.
Amazon denied the allegations that workers had been threatened with violence and said it had taken immediate action to address the issues raised by the workers, such as providing additional security measures and improved working conditions.