Amazon faces GMB Union Demo and ASBOs

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ASBOAmazon is due to be hit by demonstrations outside 9 of their biggest UK facilities tomorrow by the GMB, who apparently are upset at Amazon paying a penny above the minimum wage. The GMB are also planning to hand out fake Anti-Social Behaviour Orders to Amazon managers due to the company supposedly not paying enough tax in the UK

The thing is both of these accusations are a bit pointless. On the tax side, whilst Amazon undoubtedly pay as little tax as they can get away with, it’s the government who need to change the law. Until such time Amazon have a responsibility to their share holders to be as profitable as possible and that doesn’t include over-paying tax. Even if they wanted to it’s very unlikely the warehouse manager in say Doncaster, is in a position to influence Amazon’s tax affairs.

Probably the majority of Tamebay readers are either Amazon third party sellers, third party software suppliers, or are Amazon retail customers. If you don’t want your prices to go up then you probably don’t want Amazon to pay more tax than they have to.

Regarding the hourly rate Amazon supposedly pay their workers, these are casual workers and whilst many would probably love to work for Amazon, the reality is that they work for employment agencies and it’s they that are responsible for wages. Doubtless to get the contracts the agencies bid as little as possible which is why wages will be low, but the agencies will be taking their cut off the top. The GMB want a “living wage” of £7.45 per hour, whilst workers are currently paid £6.20, a penny above the minimum wage (set by the government).

There are often stories in the press about working conditions at Amazon, staff are expected to walk anything up to 15 miles per shift. They’re also expected to work to a certain rate, their performance is measured and it’s hard graft. It’s an honest day’s work though and probably no harder than being a Royal Mail delivery worker. If the alternative is unemployment and possibly being forced to work for a company for free, I know which I’d choose.

29 Responses

  1. Another waste of union subs. If you’re reading this and are paying your subs to the GMB do you really think tomorrow’s demo will change anything? If you think this is a good idea would you prefer workers at Amazon to be paid more and they have less staff? Because that’s what the outcome will be if this ever was to succeed. Which it won’t.

  2. I am surprised that they are not picketing the Edinburgh customer support centre (Waverley Gate). Whilst this is not their largest facility it is in the heart of the city and would get a lot of publicity.

  3. Count your blessings!

    Minimum wage in the US is $7.25 an hour or £4.66 at today’s exchange rate. No NHIS and no statutory sick or holiday pay requirements either.

    It was $5.15 from 1997 to 2007 when it went up to $5.85. Last increase was 2009

  4. Should be lucky too have a job , i dont care about min wage its bs should sack the lot of them and give me and 10000 others who are looking for work un greatful gits.

  5. “…staff are expected to walk anything up to 15 miles per shift. They’re also expected to work to a certain rate, their performance is measured and it’s hard graft. It’s an honest day’s work though and probably no harder than being a Royal Mail delivery worker. ”

    Honest day’s work – not when you’re being paid £6.20 an hour.

    A Royal Mail delivery worker gets much more honest money.

    There’s an Amazon place 2 miles from here so I know folk who work there …

    Have you ever done any serious “hard graft” work in your life, Chris ? I have, & do.

    Certainly I’m looking to avoid lining the coffers of Amazon as far as possible. The demos might not embarrass the shameless or unshame-able but may help put/keep the issue in the public gaze, where it should be.

  6. No different to working in a call centre with 200 calls queuing or working in McDonalds. Some of you simply don’t know what real work is and don’t live in the real world of work. Very few private employees are unionised these days which must be a little frustrating for the unions whose revenues keep falling year on year. All this is a bit of union PR. Nothing to do with Amazon. I spent 30 years in the real world of work, was positive about it, did very well as a result, and can now take it a little bit easier. It is about attitude nothing else.

    If you have ever been in the real world of work then you will appreciate that even with all the hoops that ebay throw at you selling on ebay and making a reasonable living at it is a walk in the park in when compared to the real world of work.

  7. Never walked out the door at 6pm in the world of real work. There was always plenty of overtime everywhere so walked out the door at 10pm doing 20 or more hours of overtime a week at time and a half. Earnt more than those with titles who gave their overtime for free so why did I need a title?

    So even puddleglum has not had a real job!

  8. And one other thing.

    When the EU directive came in limiting working hours to 48 hours per week we were all asked on a voluntary basis if we would sign a form waiving our rights under this directive. Without exception we all did!

    This is the world of real work not the fantasy work created by politicians, eurocrats and local government where most of the union membership comes from and which is paid for by taxes levied on those in real work.

  9. And packaging for Amazon for a year or two offers extremely good training in what is a very important part of ecommerce. You can learn a lot about what sells, storage, stock records and packaging logistics during your apprenticeship at Amazon.

    If this is is seen as a university for those wanting a career in ecommerce and getting paid for the training rather than borrowing £50000 to go on a “university” course then the insider knowledge that you gain combined with the Amazon training could set you up for life!

    It is all about attitude and how you approach your real work.

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