Amazon warehouse staff strike over pay in UK first

Amazon extends pay benefits for U.S. and Canada employeesHundreds of Amazon employees working in a fulfilment centre based in Coventry have commence strike action today (Wednesday 25 January) due to a pay dispute with their employer.

This is the first strike by Amazon employees to take place in the UK. The vast majority (98%) of those balloted last month voted to strike over a 50 pence per hour pay offer, which they said fails to match the rising cost of living.

According to trade union GMB, 300 employees out of a total 1,000 at the warehouse are expected to walk out for a total of 24 hours.

Amazon UK Services reported that it paid just £10.8 million in tax in 2021, despite recording a pre-tax profit of £204 million.

An Amazon spokesperson said: “A tiny proportion of our workforce is involved. In fact, according to the verified figures, only a fraction of 1% of our UK employees voted in the ballot, and that includes those who voted against industrial action. We appreciate the great work our teams do throughout the year and we’re proud to offer competitive pay which starts at a minimum of between £10.50 and £11.45 per hour, depending on location. This represents a 29% increase in the minimum hourly wage paid to Amazon employees since 2018.

“Employees are also offered comprehensive benefits that are worth thousands more, including private medical insurance, life assurance, subsidised meals and an employee discount, to name a few.”

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Amanda Gearing, senior organiser at GMB, said: “Amazon workers in Coventry are set to make history on 25 January, becoming the first ever Amazon workers in the UK to go on strike. They’ve shown they’re willing to put themselves on the line to fighting for what’s right.

“But people working for one of the most valuable businesses in the world shouldn’t have to threaten strike action just to win a wage they can live on. GMB urges Amazon UK bosses to give workers a proper pay rise to avoid industrial action.”