Amazon has rolled out a new programme as part of its Prime Now serves which will allow people to sign up for delivery jobs through an app, similar to how Uber operates.
Amazon Flex is currently trialling in the company’s hometown of Seattle and uses a network of independent contractors to deliver orders to Amazon Prime Now customers within one hour.
The app lets people sign up for shifts and pays them $20 per hour for delivering parcels. It will also serve as the platform from which jobs will be relayed to delivery workers.
Dave Clark, senior vice president of world-wide operations, told The Wall Street Journal that there was “a tremendous population of people who want to work in an on-demand fashion” and the Flex programme would provide an opportunity for people to work for the company.
It will initially only be available in Seattle however it is expected to expand to the other 13 cities running Amazon Prime Now.
The new operation will help the company deliver on its promise to have orders delivered with an hour for Amazon Prime Now customers, who pay an additional $8 on top of their annual $99 prime membership fee. It will also help Amazon greatly reduce its mounting shipping costs which grew by 31 per cent last year alone.
There are risks that it will now be drawn into the debate which has at times plagued Silicon Valley over employee rights. Ongoing legal cases are looking into whether people taking part in programmes like Flex and ride-sharing jobs like Uber are entitled to employee benefits.