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Amazon is one of the biggest companies in the world, they employ over 600,000 people worldwide. Amazon has been accused of treating their employees badly. Employees are made to work very hard and fast. Some employees have even said they cannot go to the bathroom because they are scared of being fired. There have been many investigations into the bad working conditions at Amazon.

The biggest problem is in Amazon’s warehouses. The warehouses are where most of the bad reports have come from. Now, Amazon has been accused of making employees write fake reviews on Twitter. Some Amazon workers have been tweeting to say how great their job is. Amazon calls these workers “Amazon Ambassadors”, it is their job to write positive things about Amazon online. These accounts have now been accused of writing fake reviews. The tweets don’t appear to match the accounts that they come from.

One account features a young man called Rafael. However, the account has had tweets where they refer to themselves as a grandma, excited to see their grandkids at work. Accounts and tweets such as this have led to speculation that the accounts are fake and that the tweets are written by Amazon themselves.

There have been many stories about the terrible working conditions in Amazon warehouses. Amazon may have been trying to respond to these stories on social media, although it seems to have backfired.

Difficult words

Accuse (v): To say someone did something wrong.

Conditions (n): How good or bad something is.

Warehouse (n): A large building where items are kept.

Ambassador (n): A person who represents a group.

Speculation (n): Questions about something.

Backfire (v): A plan that has an unexpected negative effect.

Activities

For listening practise, listen to the recorded article here:

British English: Coming Soon!

American English: Coming Soon!

Match the Synonym!

 1. Accuse A. How good something is.
 2. Conditions B. Representative
 3. Warehouse C. Question
 4. Ambassador D. Say someone did wrong.
 5. Speculation E. A large building.

True or False?

1.  Amazon is one of the smallest companies in the world.  T / F

2. It is okay to work slowly at Amazon.  T / F

3. There are big problems in Amazon’s warehouses. T / F

4.  Amazon made fake reviews on Facebook. T / F

5. There are many stories about bad working conditions at Amazon. T / F

Unscramble the sentence!

1. the / one / is / Amazon / biggest / of / companies

2. have / investigations / There / been / many

3. workers / tweeting / been / Amazon / have / Some

4. accounts / accused / These / been / now / have

5. have / many / There / stories / been

Listening and Vocabulary

Listen to the article and fill in the words OR practice vocabulary and fill in the words.

British English: Coming Soon!

American English: Coming Soon!

Accounts Young Reports
Treating Grandkids Respond

Amazon is one of the biggest companies in the world, they employ over 600,000 people worldwide. Amazon has been accused of ____________ their employees badly. Employees are made to work very hard and fast. Some employees have even said they cannot go to the bathroom because they are scared of being fired. There have been many investigations into the bad working conditions at Amazon.

The biggest problem is in Amazon’s warehouses. The warehouses are where most of the bad ____________ have come from. Now, Amazon has been accused of making employees write fake reviews on Twitter. Some Amazon workers have been tweeting to say how great their job is. Amazon calls these workers “Amazon Ambassadors”, it is their job to write positive things about Amazon online. These _____________ have now been accused of writing fake reviews. The tweets don’t appear to match the accounts that they come from.

One account features a __________ man called Rafael. However, the account has had tweets where they refer to themselves as a grandma, excited to see their ____________ at work. Accounts and tweets such as this have lead to speculation that the accounts are fake and that the tweets are written by Amazon themselves.

There have been many stories about the terrible working conditions in Amazon warehouses. Amazon may have been trying to _____________ to these stories on social media, although it seems to have backfired.

Conversation Questions

Take turns speaking with a partner or try to answer on your own:

1. Did you find this article interesting? Why or why not?
2. Did you learn anything new from this article? If so, what?
3. What do you think of this story?
4. Is Amazon popular in your country?
5. What are regular working conditions like in your country?
6. Do the Amazon ambassadors help Amazon’s situation?
7. What kind of job do people want to get in your country?
8. Who is the biggest employer in your country?
9. What do you know about the working conditions in Amazon warehouses?
10. Have you ever experienced bad working conditions? If so, what?
11. Do you think fake accounts on social media are a problem?
12. Should there be rules for what companies are allowed to post on social media?
13. Should governments force companies to improve working conditions?
14. Are there limits to what governments should be allowed to force companies to do?
15. Are workers’ unions popular in your country?
16. Do politicians support workers in your country?
17. What are the unemployment levels like in your country?
18. Is your country a good place for small businesses?
19. What is the biggest problem for workers in your country?
20. Should Jeff Bezos be punished for the working conditions at Amazon?