Millions of jobs at stake: Jeff Bezos’ Amazon Go stores will cost employment, says a US labour union

Prachi Gupta

As e-commerce giant Amazon gears up for the opening of more cashier-less convenience stores called Amazon Go, a US-based labour union has alleged that the same will leave millions jobless and will also shake the country's retail industry. "Amazon has one agenda-to eliminate as many jobs as possible to enrich one multi-billionaire, Jeff Bezos. The takeover of Whole Foods was just the beginning of a ruthless strategy to fundamentally change our country's grocery industry," United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), said in a statement on Wednesday. The four-decade-old organisation also said Amazon’s Go stores will eliminate millions of American jobs and poses threat to working-class Americans.

"Make no mistake, Amazon represents a clear and present danger to working and middle-class Americans. It is long past the time for our leaders to wake up and act before Amazon and Jeff Bezos do long-lasting damage to America's economy," the union said. Amazon is expected to expand its Go format stores as soon as the first quarter of 2020, a person familiar with the project said, Bloomberg reported. 

What is Amazon Go?

Amazon's futuristic Go stores allow shoppers to take items and leave the store, without making the payment at a check-out counter. The Go stores keep a note of all the items one buys and automatically deducts the amount from the customer's Amazon account as soon as the buyer steps out of the store. The first Amazon Go store was launched about two years ago in Seattle and presently, there are only 21 such outlets to date. 

While the technology is something out of a futuristic movie, it has helped the company to make the experience totally human interaction-free, i.e no in cashiers or counters. However, the company alleges that employees are still present in the Go stores for restocking and other works.

Amazon's Go is the company's attempt to capture a big slice of America's $900 billion grocery industry and other areas of retail. Amazon has reportedly spent millions of dollars various technologies such as cameras, networking gear and servers in the first store alone to make Go experience smooth, Bloomberg reported.