Amazon Flex- The Uber for High Speed Deliver
Amazon launched yesterday in Seattle a new on-demand delivery service, Amazon Flex, that relies not on traditional couriers, but ordinary people to bring the packages to clients. Like with ridesharing, drivers have to bring their own car and install an app on their phone that will notify them of gigs; the only difference is that they will transport packages instead of people.
According to Amazon Website drivers will be paid $18 to $25 per hour (they can work as much as they want) to deliver packages ordered with Amazon Prime Now, the company one-hour delivery service. In order to be eligible, applicants must have valid drivers’ licenses, be over the age of 21, pass a background check and own an Android smartphone.
It’s worth to be mentioned that Amazon is also considering using the Flex service for less urgent packages, which suggests that the company sees this as a more than just a way to make its high-speed shipping dream a reality. Let’s think about Christmas for example: Flex could really be helpful to handle the crushing holiday demand.
As The Guardian reports, Amazon Flex appears to have taken its cue from Uber and other “gig economy”-based services. Flex is not the first one though: it joins services like Instacart and TaskRabbit that employ strangers to ride around town to run your chores and bring stuff to your doorstop. By adding this new service Amazon put itself right in the middle of an ongoing debate about the nature on work in a modern economy: the new sharing economy model has in fact led to lawsuits in a number of countries. Uber is probably the most well-known example: the company has been repeatedly sued in the last few years by former drivers claiming that they were not third-party contractors but in fact proper employees of the firm.
Let’s face it, it’s a gig economy world, and we are living in it, which often means screwing employees out of proper benefits and job security that full-time employees enjoy. One question remaining: is it really the type of economy we want to contribute to?