Hundreds of workers at Amazon’s UK warehouse walk out in first-ever strike to protest a 50p pay rise
Hundreds of Amazon workers went on strike for the first time in the UK today over a pay dispute.
Members of the GMB union who work at the company’s fulfillment center in Coventry are holding industrial action as they demand a pay rise amid large increases in the cost of living.
The union voted with workers in December after they claimed a ‘pathetic’ 50p an hour raise from the company which made a £204m profit in 2021.
Amazon has said it offers “competitive pay” and that only a “small portion” of the UK workforce is involved in the strike and deliveries are not affected.
Workers at Amazon’s Coventry warehouse went on strike today over wages
Members of the GMB union stand outside the Amazon fulfillment center in Coventry this morning
It is the first time the company’s employees have staged industrial action in the UK, following similar strikes in the United States and Germany.
A fulfillment center is a warehouse where goods are packed and shipped to fulfill orders.
It comes after Royal Mail staff also went on strike over the holiday season, causing chaos with people ordering presents and sending Christmas cards to loved ones.
Stuart Richards, GMB’s senior organizer, said ahead of Wednesday’s strike: ‘Today Amazon workers in Coventry will make history.
“They defied all odds to become the first Amazon workers in the UK ever to go on strike.
“They are taking on one of the world’s largest companies to fight for a decent standard of living. They can rightly be proud of themselves.’
A member of the GMB union stands on the picket line outside the Amazon warehouse in Coventry this morning
Union members address staff as they try to convince them not to cross the line and get to work
Workers set a fire in a barrel near the picket line this morning as they protested and demanded a raise amid the freezing cold
“After six months of ignoring all requests to listen to employees’ concerns, GMB is urging Amazon UK bosses to do the right thing and give employees a decent pay rise.”
In the December vote, hundreds of trade unionists overwhelmingly voted to strike after protests took place at Amazon warehouses in Coventry, Tilbury, Essex, Bristol, Rugeley and Staffordshire.
Amazon, which refuses to recognize the GMB, claims minimum wages for employees have increased 29 percent since 2018.
A spokesman said: ‘A small portion of our workforce is involved.
In fact, according to the verified figures, only a fraction of 1% of our UK workers voted – and that includes those who voted against industrial action.
‘We appreciate the great work our teams do throughout the year and are proud to offer a competitive salary starting at a minimum of £10.50 and £11.45 per hour depending on location.
This represents a 29% increase in the hourly minimum wage paid to Amazon employees since 2018.
“Employees are also offered extensive benefits worth thousands more – including private health insurance, life insurance, subsidized meals and an employee discount, to name a few.”