Bahama Times

Tuesday, Feb 07, 2023

Amazon workers walk out over pay in first UK strike

Amazon workers walk out over pay in first UK strike

Amazon (AMZN.O) workers at a warehouse in central England walked out on Wednesday in protest over pay, marking the first time the U.S. tech company's operations in Britain have faced strike action.
Stuart Richards from the GMB union told Reuters that surging inflation had pushed its members to take industrial action and that 300 employees from the 350 GMB members at the Coventry site were expected to walk out.

"These workers are having to work incredibly long shifts, just to try and make ends meet, just to try and feed their families. We've got to be better than that," he said.

Amazon said 178 of its 2,000 workers at the warehouse had voted to strike.

As staff arrived for their shift on early on Wednesday, union members urged them to support their colleagues instead. Some of the workers lined up at a GMB tent to sign up to join the union as the strike started.

The walk-out is just the latest in Britain, which is facing its worst industrial unrest since Margaret Thatcher was prime minister, with staff from key sectors, including nurses and ambulance workers as well as from the railways and the legal profession staging strikes in fights for better pay.

Amazon, which employs 75,000 people across the UK, increased starting pay by 50 pence to a minimum of between 10.50 and 11.45 pounds ($12.95 to $14.12) per hour last year, compared with a minimum wage in Britain that is set to rise to 10.42 in April.

Darren Westwood, who has worked at the Coventry site for three and a half years, told Reuters that the latest pay rise was not enough, as wage growth has lagged inflation, which hit a 41-year high of 11.1% at one point last year.

"None of us want to strike. We'd all rather be in the warmth inside than be drinking tea out here in the cold, but it's come to that point now where the cost of living has just gone crazy," he said.

Workers at another Amazon warehouse in Tilbury, south east England, had walked out in August on an impromptu basis and without a formal ballot. The Coventry strike is the first legally mandated action against Amazon in Britain.

An Amazon spokesperson said the company already offers competitive pay and comprehensive benefits. When asked if they officially recognised the role of the union in pay talks, the spokesperson said: "Having a direct relationship with the company is best for our employees."

"Our employees have the choice of whether or not to join a union. They always have."

The Nasdaq-listed group has faced criticism from labour advocates in the United States for discouraging union membership among workers through mandatory staff meetings to warn staff about unions.

Nicholas Henderson, another worker at the Coventry warehouse, told Reuters that the worsening cost-of-living crisis had led him to strike.

"The time you've added your rent, your mortgage, your food, your bills, you basically got nothing left."

($1 = 0.8108 pounds)
Newsletter

Related Articles

Bahama Times
Close
0:00
0:00
2 earthquakes in Turkey killed over 2,300 people
Powerful Earthquake Strikes Turkey and Syria, Killing More Than 1,300 People.
Turkish photographer Ugur Gallenkus portrays two different worlds within a single image. Brilliant work
Tennessee Bill Would Imprison People for 3 Years If They 'Lie' About Rape to Get an Abortion.
Charlie Munger, calls for a ban on cryptocurrencies in the US, following China's lead
EU found a way to use frozen Russian funds
First generation unopened iPhone set to fetch more than $50,000 at auction.
WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT - US Memphis Police murdering innocent Tyre Nichols
Almost 30% of professionals say they've tried ChatGPT at work
Interpol seeks woman who ran elaborate exam cheating scam in Singapore
What is ChatGPT?
Bill Gates is ‘very optimistic’ about the future: ‘Better to be born 20 years from now...than any time in the past’
Tesla reported record profits and record revenues for 2022
Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre Photo Is Fake: Ghislaine Maxwell
Opinion | Israel’s Supreme Court Claims a Veto on Democracy
Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin Gets Married On His 93rd Birthday
Who’s Threatening Israeli Democracy?
Federal Reserve Probes Goldman’s Consumer Business
China's first population drop in six decades
Microsoft is finalising plans to become the latest technology giant to reduce its workforce during a global economic slowdown
China's foreign ministry branch in Hong Kong urges British gov't to stop the biased and double standards Hong Kong report
Tesla slashes prices globally by as much as 20 percent
1.4 Million Copies Of Prince Harry's Memoir 'Spare' Sold On 1st Day In UK
After Failing To Pay Office Rent, Twitter May Sell User Names
Lisa Marie Presley, singer and daughter of Elvis, dies aged 54
FIFA president questioned by prosecutors
Britain's Sunak breaks silence and admits using private healthcare
Hype and backlash as Harry's memoir goes on sale. Unnamed royal source says prince 'kidnapped by cult of psychotherapy and Meghan'
Saudi Arabia set to overtake India as fastest-growing major economy this year 
Google and Facebook’s dominance in digital ads challenged by rapid ascent of Amazon and TikTok
FTX fraud investigators are digging deeper into Sam Bankman-Fried's inner circle – and reportedly have ex-engineer Nishad Singh in their sights
TikTok CEO Plans to Meet European Union Regulators
UK chaos: Hong Kong emigrants duped by false prospectus
France has banned the online sale of paracetamol until February, citing ongoing supply issues
Japan reportedly to give families 1 million yen per child to move out of Tokyo
Will Canada ever become a real democracy?
Hong Kong property brokerages slash payrolls in choppy market
U.S. Moves to Seize Robinhood Shares, Silvergate Accounts Tied to FTX
Effect of EU sanctions on Moscow is ‘less than zero’ – Belgian MEP
Coinbase to Pay $100 Million in Settlement With New York Regulator
FTX assets worth $3.5bn held by Bahamas securities regulator
A Republican congressman-elect is under investigation in New York after he admitted he lied about his education and work experience.
Brazilian football legend Pele, arguably the greatest player ever, has died at the age of 82.
Hong Kong to scrap almost all its Covid rules
EU calls screening of travellers from China unjustified
US imposes Covid testing for visitors from China
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Addresses Joint Session of Congress - FULL SPEECH
If a country is denied the right to independence by another, it is not in a union. It is in a dictatorship.
Where is Rishi? Chancellor Jeremy Hunt's excuses about the UK's economic challenges just don't make sense
Former FTX CEO Bankman-Fried finally arrested in Bahamas after U.S. files charges
×