Amazon’s entry to Australia signals a wider and worrying trend in worker relations. The company’s model, resting on heavy automation, means fewer low and middle skill jobs.
Like other multinational companies that enter the Australian marketplace, Amazon will have different industrial relations practices and this could signal changes in union relations. This comes as unions themselves fight to stay relevant in a changing workforce.
Amazon warehouses are not worker-free and some new jobs will be created for maintenance or robot learning. But the bulk of potential new jobs associated with automation at Amazon are unlikely to happen in Australia - but rather where robots are developed and manufactured
This trend is likely to be aggravated with drone delivery and the first worker-less full scale convenience store where you can just “grab and go” already operating in the US.