60 couriers are set to lose their jobs today after internet giant Amazon decided to scrap Prime Now one-hour deliveries by bike in Seattle, Washington state, the city where it is based.
Instead, goods will be delivered to shoppers exclusively via motor vehicles, although some have expressed scepticism that Amazon is finished with bike couriers altogether.
According to Geekwire, the riders concerned were told by email on Wednesday that they were surplus to requirements - just three days’notice.
All were supplied to Amazon by a variety of firms that employed the couriers, and in the comments to that article, strong suspicions are raised that having built an understanding of how the business operates, Amazon will now look to engage bike couriers directly.
One, who has been working on the Amazon contract for the past nine months, told thestranger.com: "We were all given a very short notice that Friday would be our last day.
"A lot of people, including myself, are thinking, 'Why are we going to stick around and bust our ass and put our lives on our line when they don't give a shit?' They just cut our jobs. A lot of us just walked out."
But she put no blame on the owner of Fleetfoot, the contractor she worked for, insisting: “Gary was the best boss I've ever had.
"He didn't tell us because he was trying to negotiate with Amazon and get them to change their mind... He was a good employer. It was Amazon that was horrible."
The courier added that she had not been given any severance pay, and at $12.50 an hour had already been struggling to make ends meet with her rent having just gone up.
She will now apply for food stamps and unemployment benefit, and added: "A lot of new employees got screwed too. It was not a pretty picture yesterday."
In autumn last year, Geekwire reported on the demands Amazon placed on couriers delivering products ordered through the Prime Now one-hour service.
One rider then said - also anonymously - that Amazon’s requirements in terms of payload, delivery time and execution were “physically impossible” to meet.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.