Amazon Workers in the U.K Down Tools, Protest Over Wage Inequality in the Company

Amazon Workers in the U.K Down Tools, Protest Over Wage Inequality in the Company

Amazon workers in the U.K. have suspended their work to protest over the wage inequality at the company.

The 24-hour strike action which began in the early hours of today has seen numerous workers at the warehouse in Coventry hit the street to demand a pay rise of £15 an hour after receiving an increase of 50p an hour last summer, taking pay for most workers to £10.50 an hour.

Workers at the company are unhappy with the pay increase (50 pence) per hour, equivalent to 5% and well below inflation.

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The pay rise, described by workers as “pathetic” and “an insult”, sparked wildcat strikes in at least four British warehouses, including Coventry.

These aggrieved workers are demanding better working conditions, as they lament over the long working hours, high injury rates, and the unrelenting pace of work, as well as the aggressive tech-enhanced monitoring of employees.

The GMB union which represents the workers involved disclosed that it expects 300 employees out of a total of 1,000 at the plant to turn up to the walkout.

A GMB senior organizer, Stuart Richards said,

“Today, Amazon workers in Coventry will make history, they have defied the odds to become the first-ever Amazon workers in the UK to go on strike. They are 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 bosses in the UK to do the right thing and give workers a pay rise”.

The GMB further added that it could set dates for further strikes over the company’s offer in the summer of a 50p hourly pay rise, which left hourly wages at £10.50.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson at Amazon said,

A tiny proportion of our workforce is involved. In fact, according to the verified figures, only a fraction of 1 percent 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 percent increase in the minimum hourly wage paid to Amazon employees since 2018.

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

Reports disclose that the strike action by workers against Amazon is the first legally mandated strike to take place in Amazon’s U.K. Although, last year, workers previously stopped working spontaneously in August and on Black Friday in November.

The strike was organized under “Make Amazon Pay,” an international campaign coordinated among trade unions, climate justice groups, and labor rights organizations, mandating Amazon to increase worker pay and stop busting warehouse employees’ efforts to unionize, as well as improve its environmental impact.

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