Amazon workers strike in Coventry

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Staff at the Amazon depot in Coventry, UK, have gone on strike today (Jan 25) in a UK first. The Amazon workers at the fulfillment center voted in December 2022 to walk out over the company’s 50p (US$0.61) per hour pay rise offer.

The GMB Union, which represents the workers, reported that an industrial action ballot that closed on December 16 last year saw a 63% turnout and of this, 98% voted to strike. The strike date of January 25 was confirmed earlier this month. However, according to Amazon, only 284 GMB members at the Coventry receive center (where it employs approximately 2,000 people) were eligible to vote on industrial action and, of those, 178 voted in favor of the action – not 98% of all employees on the site.

Stuart Richards, a senior organizer of GMB, said, “Today, Amazon workers in Coventry will make history. They’ve defied the odds to become the first-ever Amazon workers in the UK to go on strike. They’re taking on one of the world’s biggest companies to fight for a decent standard of living. They should be rightly proud of themselves. After six months of ignoring all requests to listen to workers’ concerns, GMB urges Amazon UK bosses to do the right thing and give workers a proper pay rise.”

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 [US$12.91] and £11.45 [US$14.07] 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, subsidized meals and an employee discount, to name a few.”

Amazon UK Services reported that it paid £10.8m (US$13.27m) in tax in 2021, despite recording a pre-tax profit of £204m (US$250m).

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As the latest addition to the UKi Media & Events team, Elizabeth brings research skills from her English degree to her keen interest in the meteorological and transportation industries. Having taken the lead in student and startup publications, she has gained experience in editing online and print titles on a wide variety of topics. In her current role as Editorial Assistant, Elizabeth will create new and topical content on the pioneering technologies in transportation, logistics and meteorology.

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