Amazon strike: GMB union members in Coventry stage series of strikes in a dispute over pay

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Staff are walking out over pay and working conditions

UK Amazon workers in a Coventry warehouse will walk out again in a series of strikes in a dispute over pay.

GMB have said more than 350 staff at the fufilment centre will walk out on 28 February and 2 March, as well as 13-17 March.

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Last month, union members made history by becoming the first Amazon workers in the UK to strike for a pay rate of £15 per hour.

Members of the union voted to take industrial action in protest against a 50p-an-hour pay rise offered to the warehouse staff in the summer, - which many workers felt was insulting.

Staff also complained about gruelling round-the-clock shifts and constant monitoring by management. The union is asking for £15-per-hour pay. Currently, members are paid £10.50 an hour - which represents a 45% rise.

Amazon workers in first ever UK strike over pay at Coventry Depot. 25th January 2023.Amazon workers in first ever UK strike over pay at Coventry Depot. 25th January 2023.
Amazon workers in first ever UK strike over pay at Coventry Depot. 25th January 2023. | SWNS

Amanda Gearing, GMB senior organiser, said the “unprecedented” strikes showed the anger among Amazon workers in Coventry.

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She said: “They work for one of the richest companies in the world, yet they have to work round the clock to keep themselves afloat.

“It’s sickening that Amazon workers in Coventry will earn just 8p above the national minimum wage in April 2023.

“Amazon bosses can stop this industrial action by doing the right thing and negotiating a proper pay rise with workers.”

Amazon has previously said that fewer than 300 of its 1,400 workers in Coventry are affiliated with the GMB and that there will be “zero impact” on customers because of the strike, adding that normal operations will continue.

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The online giant pointed out that the Coventry site is a centre providing stock to its UK centres and not a fulfilment centre that directly services customer orders.

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 and £11.45 per hour, depending on location.

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“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, subsidised meals and an employee discount, to name a few.”

Amazon to close three UK warehouses

Amazon has recently announced the closure of three UK warehouses which will impact 1,200 jobs. Sites in the west of Scotland, Hemel Hempstead, Donacsater and Gourock have been proposed to shut, with workers being offered roles at other existing Amazon locations.

The move comes as Amazon unveiled plans for two new major fulfilment centres in Peddimore in the West Midlands and Stockton-on-Tees in County Durham. It said the new centres will create 2,500 jobs over the next three years.

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