Amazon packages move on conveyor belts at fulfillment centers in the United Kingdom.
Nathan Stark | Getty Images
Amazon Workers are on strike in the UK. This is the first formal domestic industrial action for the US tech giant.
The 24-hour strike action began one minute after midnight on Wednesday. The striker is expected to picket all day outside the company’s grounds in Coventry, central England. The GMB Union, which represents the workers involved, said it expected hundreds of employees to join the strike.
Staff are unhappy with their 50 pence (56 cents) hourly pay raise. This equates to 5%, well below inflation. Amazon introduced pay increases last summer. But warehouse workers say they have not been able to cope with the rising cost of living. They want the company to pay him at least £15 an hour.
They also want better working conditions. Amazon employees have complained about long working hours, and they are also actively monitoring their employees.
A spokeswoman for the tech giant told CNBC that the staff involved “represents just 1% of its UK workforce.” A spokesperson said wages for Amazon’s UK warehouse workers had risen 29% since 2018 and he was given a lump sum of £500 to employees to help with the cost of living crisis. I pointed out that
Wednesday’s action against Flim is the first legally mandated strike to take place in the UK Amazon’s UK staff previously voluntarily stopped work for Black Friday in August and November.
Darren Westwood, one of the Amazon employees who took part in the strike, said it was “a long road” to that day, describing it as “historic.”
“We all saw the profits they were making during the pandemic, and that made people even more angry,” Westwood told CNBC by phone. We expected a better increase than we expected.”
Rising energy costs and supply chain disruptions caused by the war in Ukraine have sent inflation soaring. Consumer prices rose 10.5% year-on-year in December. In response, the Bank of England raised interest rates to contain rising costs.
Westwood said he and his partner are in a reasonable financial position at the moment. But he said he was worried about other employees, one of whom he worked 60 hours a week to pay off his mortgage.
Wednesday’s action in the UK comes as Amazon cuts thousands of jobs around the world. The company last week began laying off 18,000 employees to scale back some of the expansion it made during the Covid-19 period and prepare for a possible recession in 2023.
Earlier this month, Amazon began talks to shut down its three UK sites, which collectively employ 1,200 people. The move is not part of Amazon’s 18,000 job cuts, according to the company.
Amazon has long been criticized for its labor shortages.The company has often been accused of poor working conditions in its warehouses and delivery operations, and of crushing attempts to unionize its employees. , the company’s warehouse staff in Staten Island, New York, became the first group in the United States to vote to join the union.
“We are in solidarity with Amazon workers in Coventry fighting for higher wages and benefits,” Chris Smalls of the Amazon union, who founded the union, told CNBC. “It’s time for Amazon, who claims to be the best company on the planet, to come to the negotiating table and negotiate with unions in good faith.”