Amazon workers at a Coventry warehouse went on strike Wednesday in protest over wages, marking the first time British employees of the e-commerce giant have taken industrial action.
About 300 of the 1,000-strong staff on site will be on strike, called by the GMB union, which has long worked to increase its presence in the company.
The strike has little impact on how companies operate, but it is a breakthrough for the UK trade union movement. It has struggled for years to establish a presence in sectors such as logistics, where the proportion of the UK workforce is increasing. and in difficult working conditions.
UK unions, which have spearheaded a wave of high-profile strikes across the public sector, are keen to use their newfound advantage to rebuild membership across the private sector after years of decline. I am eager.
GMB senior organizer Amanda Gearing said Coventry site workers were “ready to make history” after showing they were “willing to join in fighting for what is right”. I was.
GMB said it could schedule further strikes over its proposal in the summer of the 50p an hour wage hike. This kept the hourly wage to £10.50. The union claims it lags behind rates offered to warehouse workers at other retail groups. Such as the supermarket chain Aldi.
Amazon said Wednesday’s actions at its Coventry warehouse, which supplies inventory to its fulfillment center, would not affect customers, noting that a “small fraction” of UK employees voted to vote to strike. The minimum hourly wage paid to employees has risen 29% since 2018, and other benefits are worth “thousands of times,” the company said.
GMB has asked Amazon to raise its wages to £15 an hour, which unions say is comparable to wages paid in the company’s U.S. operations, which are facing a wave of grassroots activity.
Last year, workers at an Amazon warehouse in Staten Island, New York, voted to form a union, which was seen as a pivotal moment for the U.S. labor movement.
After unsuccessfully trying to gain recognition on other UK Amazon sites in the past, GMB has struck deals with gig economy employers such as Uber and Deliveroo.
Make Amazon Pay, a global campaign group that advocates for office workers, launched a campaign across Europe in November to coincide with “Black Friday,” when deep discounts on Amazon’s products make working conditions tougher for warehouse workers. launched its own strike actions and protests.
“Given the obstacles that must be overcome in Britain to be able to attack, [the action] It’s a true testament to the fact that workers around the world are truly hooked on Amazon. They really have been through it at Amazon — enough. Coalition Creates Amazon Pay.
Amazon is calling for salary hikes in the UK as businesses look to cut costs. The company plans to eliminate 18,000 jobs from its corporate workforce as jobs surged during the coronavirus pandemic.
Earlier this month, the company announced it would close its three UK warehouses. Some staff will be redeployed, but the lack of a nearby Amazon facility could mean the loss of about 300 jobs in Inverclyde, Scotland.