Connect with us

General

Amazon drivers and managers describe harrowing deliveries inside trucks with ‘bald tires,’ broken mirrors, and faulty brakes – Strategy – Pulselive.co.ke

Published

on

Loading...



Some Amazon delivery drivers say the trucks they have used to transport packages to customers’ doorsteps were beaten up and falling apart.

In interviews with Business Insider, current and recently employed drivers and managers of Amazon-affiliated courier companies described anxiety-ridden work shifts where they drove in trucks with broken windows, cracked mirrors, jammed doors, faulty brakes, and tires with poor traction.

“You are riding on bald tires in trucks with broken mirrors and messed up doors,” said Arnold Burns, a former delivery driver for Amazon-affiliated TL Transportation in Langhorne, Pennsylvania. “They have a serious problem with upkeep of their vehicles.”

Former driver Omer Childs said she drove vans with broken windshields, broken doors, and low tire pressure when she worked for Amazon-affiliated Second Samuel Transportation in Michigan.

TL Transportation and Second Samuel Transportation did not respond to requests for comment.

Sid Shah managed vehicle inspections and repairs for DeliverOL, another Amazon-affiliated company, out of an Amazon facility in Aurora, Colorado.

He described vehicle upkeep as “pathetic” and said it was a constant battle to get funding authorization for repairs. Workers were regularly forced to drive trucks with expired registration tags, bald tires, missing side mirrors, jammed doors, broken lights, and other problems, he said.

“I had brake pads and brake discs on one van that needed to be replaced. I called [DeliverOL] and said someone is going to die in this truck if they drive it,” Shah recalled. “They forwarded me to some maintenance guy who said, ‘You don’t need new brake pads, they aren’t under warranty.’

“If brakes are screeching and it’s literally rubbing metal to metal, you need to fix your brakes,” he said. DeliverOL did not respond to requests for comment.

In response to the claims in this story, Amazon provided a statement highlighting a new program that’s designed to alleviate some of the costs of vehicle maintenance.

“As part of our ongoing commitment to safety and to assist our small business partners scale, we recently launched the Delivery Service Partners program,” the company said. “Among other things, this program provides tools and services to our small business partners including new state of the art delivery vans; ongoing preventative maintenance services; regular equipment audits; and technology to ensure the safe operation and upkeep of their vans.”

Amazon isn’t technically responsible for vehicle repairs

Amazon said reports of poor vehicle maintenance are unacceptable.

But the company isn’t technically responsible for maintaining the vehicles that transport its packages. Amazon’s delivery system pushes that burden onto the delivery companies it hires.

Instead of employing drivers directly, Amazon transports packages to customers using drivers employed by UPS, FedEx, USPS, and a number of smaller companies that manage their own fleets, like TL Transportation, Second Samuel Transportation, and DeliverOL. Amazon calls these smaller companies delivery service partners.

These delivery partners work out of Amazon facilities, and Amazon provides them with packages, delivery routes, navigation software, and scanning devices.

Amazon requires the companies to abide by a code of conduct, which reads: “Suppliers must implement a regular machinery maintenance program. Production and other machinery must be routinely evaluated for safety hazards.”

The code also requires that suppliers provide workers with a “safe and healthy work environment.”

But some delivery companies working with Amazon are failing to follow the code, sources said.

“On one van we had, the driver’s side window wouldn’t roll up — and this was during winter in Colorado,” said Eric Jefferies, a former driver for DeliverOL.

He said he suffered severe anxiety while delivering packages for Amazon from “not knowing if my van was going to break down because the company didn’t keep up maintenance on them.”

When former delivery driver Shanaea Burnett reported problems like faulty brakes and broken mirrors to her manager at New Jersey-based Prime EFS, she said he accused her of “always complaining” and told her to “get out of his face.”

Prime EFS did not respond to requests for comment.

One courier company owner, who asked to remain anonymous, admitted to sending broken vans out on the road when his company delivered packages for Amazon.

Loading...

He said profit margins were thin from his Amazon business, and that he couldn’t afford to lose revenue by having a truck sit in a repair shop for several days. On top of that, Amazon fines couriers if they can’t complete a route assignment because they don’t have enough vans to complete the work, he said. Two other sources confirmed that Amazon fines couriers for route assignments that they can’t complete.

He claimed that many other courier company owners were facing the same pressures.

A former Amazon manager who acted as a liaison between courier companies and Amazon itself also cited rampant problems with vehicle maintenance and driver safety in general.

“Trucks were rusted out and driving around on spare tires,” this person, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retribution, said. He said Amazon ignored some of his warnings about driver safety.

“We were sounding the alarms,” this person said. “It rolled off their backs.”

New Amazon program offers discounts on vehicle maintenance

In a recent push to grow its network of delivery service partners, Amazon announced a new program that advertised $300,000 in profits for anyone willing to start a courier company operating a fleet of up to 40 trucks.

Amazon purchased 40,000 Mercedes-Benz vans for the new program, which courier companies can lease from Amazon, and negotiated special rates for van insurance and regular maintenance.

The rates are part of a package of incentives designed to lower couriers’ costs of operating.

The incentives also include discounts on insurance plans for employees and a customized payroll system.

The company said it launched the new incentives after analyzing its current system of delivery providers and determining where the companies could make improvements.

“We have worked with our partners, listened to their needs, and have implemented new programs to ensure small delivery businesses serving Amazon customers have the tools they need to deliver a great customer and employee experience,” the company said in response to a recent Business Insider story that highlighted problems within its delivery network.

Also read:



Loading...

General

Sordid tale of the bank ‘that would bribe God’

Published

on

Loading...

Bank of Credit and Commerce International. August 1991. [File, Standard]

“This bank would bribe God.” These words of a former employee of the disgraced Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) sum up one of the most rotten global financial institutions.
BCCI pitched itself as a top bank for the Third World, but its spectacular collapse would reveal a web of transnational corruption and a playground for dictators, drug lords and terrorists.
It was one of the largest banks cutting across 69 countries and its aftermath would cause despair to innocent depositors, including Kenyans.
BCCI, which had $20 billion (Sh2.1 trillion in today’s exchange rate) assets globally, was revealed to have lost more than its entire capital.
The bank was founded in 1972 by the crafty Pakistani banker Agha Hasan Abedi.
He was loved in his homeland for his charitable acts but would go on to break every rule known to God and man.
In 1991, the Bank of England (BoE) froze its assets, citing large-scale fraud running for several years. This would see the bank cease operations in multiple countries. The Luxembourg-based BCCI was 77 per cent owned by the Gulf Emirate of Abu Dhabi.  
BoE investigations had unearthed laundering of drugs money, terrorism financing and the bank boasted of having high-profile customers such as Panama’s former strongman Manual Noriega as customers.
The Standard, quoting “highly placed” sources reported that Abu Dhabi ruler Sheikh Zayed Sultan would act as guarantor to protect the savings of Kenyan depositors.
The bank had five branches countrywide and panic had gripped depositors on the state of their money.
Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) would then move to appoint a manager to oversee the operations of the BCCI operations in Kenya.
It sent statements assuring depositors that their money was safe.
The Standard reported that the Sheikh would be approaching the Kenyan and other regional subsidiaries of the bank to urge them to maintain operations and assure them of his personal support.
It was said that contact between CBK and Abu Dhabi was “likely.”
This came as the British Ambassador to the UAE Graham Burton implored the gulf state to help compensate Britons, and the Indian government also took similar steps.
The collapse of BCCI was, however, not expect to badly hit the Kenyan banking system. This was during the sleazy 1990s when Kenya’s banking system was badly tested. It was the era of high graft and “political banks,” where the institutions fraudulently lent to firms belonging or connected to politicians, who were sometimes also shareholders.
And even though the impact was expected to be minimal, it was projected that a significant number of depositors would transfer funds from Asian and Arab banks to other local institutions.
“Confidence in Arab banking has taken a serious knock,” the “highly placed” source told The Standard.
BCCI didn’t go down without a fight. It accused the British government of a conspiracy to bring down the Pakistani-run bank.  The Sheikh was said to be furious and would later engage in a protracted legal battle with the British.
“It looks to us like a Western plot to eliminate a successful Muslim-run Third World Bank. We know that it often acted unethically. But that is no excuse for putting it out of business, especially as the Sultan of Abu Dhabi had agreed to a restructuring plan,” said a spokesperson for British Asians.
A CBK statement signed by then-Deputy Governor Wanjohi Murithi said it was keenly monitoring affairs of the mother bank and would go to lengths to protect Kenyan depositors.
“In this respect, the CBK has sought and obtained the assurance of the branch’s management that the interests of depositors are not put at risk by the difficulties facing the parent company and that the bank will meet any withdrawal instructions by depositors in the normal course of business,” said Mr Murithi.
CBK added that it had maintained surveillance of the local branch and was satisfied with its solvency and liquidity.
This was meant to stop Kenyans from making panic withdrawals.
For instance, armed policemen would be deployed at the bank’s Nairobi branch on Koinange Street after the bank had announced it would shut its Kenyan operations.
In Britain, thousands of businesses owned by British Asians were on the verge of financial ruin following the closure of BCCI.
Their firms held almost half of the 120,000 bank accounts registered with BCCI in Britain. 
The African Development Bank was also not spared from this mess, with the bulk of its funds deposited and BCCI and stood to lose every coin.
Criminal culture
In Britain, local authorities from Scotland to the Channel Islands are said to have lost over £100 million (Sh15.2 billion in today’s exchange rate).
The biggest puzzle remained how BCCI was allowed by BoE and other monetary regulation authorities globally to reach such levels of fraudulence.
This was despite the bank being under tight watch owing to the conviction of some of its executives on narcotics laundering charges in the US.
Coast politician, the late Shariff Nassir, would claim that five primary schools in Mombasa lost nearly Sh1 million and appealed to then Education Minister George Saitoti to help recover the savings. Then BoE Governor Robin Leigh-Pemberton condemned it as so deeply immersed in fraud that rescue or recovery – at least in Britain – was out of the question.
“The culture of the bank is criminal,” he said. The bank was revealed to have targeted the Third World and had created several “institutional devices” to promote its operations in developing countries.
These included the Third World Foundation for Social and Economic Studies, a British-registered charity.
“It allowed it to cultivate high-level contacts among international statesmen,” reported The Observer, a British newspaper.
BCCI also arranged an annual Third World lecture and a Third World prize endowment fund of about $10 million (Sh1 billion in today’s exchange rate).
Winners of the annual prize had included Nelson Mandela (1985), sir Bob Geldof (1986) and Archbishop Desmond Tutu (1989).
[email protected]    

Loading...

Monitor water pumps remotely via your phone

Tracking and monitoring motor vehicles is not new to Kenyans. Competition to install affordable tracking devices is fierce but essential for fleet managers who receive reports online and track vehicles from the comfort of their desk.

Loading...
Continue Reading

General

Agricultural Development Corporation Chief Accountant Gerald Karuga on the Spot Over Fraud –

Published

on

Loading...

Gerald Karuga, the acting chief accountant at the Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC), is on the spot over fraud in land dealings.

ADC was established in 1965 through an Act of Parliament Cap 346 to facilitate the land transfer programme from European settlers to locals after Kenya gained independence.

Karuga is under fire for allegedly aiding a former powerful permanent secretary in the KANU era Benjamin Kipkulei to deprive ADC beneficiaries of their land in Naivasha.

Kahawa Tungu understands that the aggrieved parties continue to protest the injustice and are now asking the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (EACC) and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to probe Karuga.

A source who spoke to Weekly Citizen publication revealed that Managing Director Mohammed Dulle is also involved in the mess at ADC.

Read: Ministry of Agriculture Apologizes After Sending Out Tweets Portraying the President in bad light

Dulle is accused of sidelining a section of staffers in the parastatal.

The sources at ADC intimated that Karuga has been placed strategically at ADC to safeguard interests of many people who acquired the corporations’ land as “donations” from former President Daniel Arap Moi.

Despite working at ADC for many years Karuga has never been transferred, a trend that has raised eyebrows.

“Karuga has worked here for more than 30 years and unlike other senior officers in other parastatals who are transferred after promotion or moved to different ministries, for him, he has stuck here for all these years and we highly suspect that he is aiding people who were dished out with big chunks of land belonging to the corporation in different parts of the country,” said the source.

In the case of Karuga safeguarding Kipkulei’s interests, workers at the parastatals and the victims who claim to have lost their land in Naivasha revealed that during the Moi regime some senior officials used dubious means to register people as beneficiaries of land without their knowledge and later on colluded with rogue land officials at the Ministry of Lands to acquire title deeds in their names instead of those of the benefactors.

Read Also: Galana Kulalu Irrigation Scheme To Undergo Viability Test Before Being Privatised

Loading...

“We have information that Karuga has benefitted much from Kipkulei through helping him and this can be proved by the fact that since the matter of the Naivasha land began, he has been seen changing and buying high-end vehicles that many people of his rank in government can’t afford to buy or maintain,” the source added.

“He is even building a big apartment for rent in Ruiru town.”

The wealthy officer is valued at over Sh1.5 billion in prime properties and real estate.

Last month, more than 100 squatters caused scenes in Naivasha after raiding a private firm owned by Kipkulei.

The squatters, who claimed to have lived on the land for more than 40 years, were protesting take over of the land by a private developer who had allegedly bought the land from the former PS.

They pulled down a three-kilometre fence that the private developed had erected.

The squatters claimed that the former PS had not informed them that he had sold the land and that the developer was spraying harmful chemicals on the grass affecting their livestock and homes built on a section of the land.

Read Also: DP Ruto Wants NCPB And Other Agricultural Bodies Merged For Efficiency

Naivasha Deputy County Commissioner Kisilu Mutua later issued a statement warning the squatters against encroaching on Kipkuleir’s land.

“They are illegally invading private land. We shall not allow the rule of the jungle to take root,” warned Mutua.

Meanwhile, a parliamentary committee recently demanded to know identities of 10 faceless people who grabbed 30,350 acres of land belonging to the parastatal, exposing the rot at the corporation.

ADC Chairman Nick Salat, who doubles up as the KANU party Secretary-General, denied knowledge of the individuals and has asked DCI to probe the matter.

Email your news TIPS to [email protected] or WhatsApp +254708677607. You can also find us on Telegram through www.t.me/kahawatungu

Loading...
Continue Reading

General

William Ruto eyes Raila Odinga Nyanza backyard

Published

on

Loading...

Deputy President William Ruto will next month take his ‘hustler nation’ campaigns to his main rival, ODM leader Raila Odinga’s Nyanza backyard, in an escalation of the 2022 General Election competition.

Acrimonious fall-out

Development agenda

Won’t bear fruit

Loading...
Continue Reading
Advertisement
Loading...
Advertisement
Loading...

Trending

Kenyan Tribune