GMB wants Co-op to ban Amazon lockers

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Amazon Locker hmGMB, the union for staff at Amazon, is to launch a campaign with Co-op members to get the group to remove Amazon lockers for 160 of its High Street stores

The GMB said “Why a business would allow a competitor like Amazon floor space is hard to understand as the Co-operative has a real cuckoo in the ethical nest”.

The GMB’s real complaint is with pay and working conditions for Amazon workers. According to the GMB, the vast majority of the 22,000 staff are paid £6.39 per hour with the permanent staff starting on £7 per hour. They say that they have alerted the Co-operative Group as to the employment record of Amazon and have challenged the reasons given by the Co-operative Group for the partnership with Amazon.

Nick Folland, Chief External Affairs Officer at the Co-operative replied “Here at the Co-operative Group we strongly consider balancing our ethical values when making decisions relating to our businesses’ operations“. He added that the Co-op are “meeting the needs of changing shopping habits, making our service offerings more relevant to a younger generation, giving consumers a reason to come to the high-street in their local community (where many of our stores are located) and reducing environmental impacts as the miles to deliver and collect these products are reduced“.

Of course one issue is what is the true benefit to the Co-op, as well as increased foot fall, if any payment from Amazon to the Co-Op is tasty enough then surely it would be remiss of the Co-op not to benefit their members with the additional income.

It’s worth noting that the Co-op have had a troubled relationship with the GMB in recent times. In 2007, after over 100 years, the Co-op de-recognised the GMB saying that they “need to work with unions which operate across the Group’s range of businesses“. Calling on the Co-op to remove Amazon lockers may run deeper than simply applying pressure to Amazon for a living wage. It could also be a way to raise the GMB profile with Co-op members and remind Co-op management that they’re still a force to be recognised.

4 Responses

  1. The Co-op only pay just over minimum wage as well, so how about applying pressure on them to pay their staff a living wage

  2. The GMB need to wake up and smell the coffee! How much do they think Co-op staff get paid? My sister lives & works in London, she has worked for the Co-op for at least 10 years and she still gets less than £7 an hour!

  3. perhaps a gap has opened up between the members of the gmb (gumboots union) – state sector – and the private sector

    if this is a recruiting/policy stunt (its near political conference time) it shows the gap between the old unions and the world in which so many of us live

  4. People do need to remember that any increase in wages is going to be an increase in prices and often this means there is no actual increase.

    Often people forget that any increase in overheads will mean an increase in the price they pay for items, so if Amazon pay there staff more or if we change the law so they have to pay more tax prices will go up and we pay more.

    We always seem to forget that in these sort of arguments!


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