This Wednesday marks the 1st Amazon UK Strike, with members of the GMB Union walking out in protest at wages.
The GMB Union have suggested workers demand £15 per hour, but Amazon have offered a 50p an hour. Amazon pay between £10.50 and £11.45 per hour, depending on location and the company points out that this represents a 29% increase in the minimum hourly wage paid to Amazon employees since 2018.
The ballot for the 1st Amazon UK Strike, which closed on the 16th of December 2022, saw a majority of more than 98% of workers vote to strike. However Amazon point out that a fraction of 1% of their workforces voted in the ballot, and that includes those who voted against strike action. Around GMB 300 members out of the 1,500 workers at the Coventry site will walk out.
There will be no impact from the 1st Amazon UK strike on consumers and very little on retailer selling on the platform. The Coventry warehouse doesn’t fulfil a single order directly to Amazon customers, and instead is a distribution centre which acts as a supply depot for other Amazon fulfilment centres.
What’s more significant is the likely recruitment of more Amazon workers by the GMB which could lead to strikes spreading throughout Amazon’s workforce across the UK. That may be some way off into the future, but we only have to look across the Channel to Germany where the Ver.Di union has regularly called strikes to see the possible future for the UK.
Amazon workers in Coventry have made history – they will be the first ever in the UK to take part in a formal strike.
They should be applauded for their grit and determination – fighting for what’s right in the face of an appallingly hostile environment.
The fact that they are being forced to go on strike to win a decent rate of pay from one of the world’s most valuable companies should be a badge of shame for Amazon
Amazon can afford to do better. It’s not too late to avoid strike action; get round the table with GMB to improve the pay and conditions of workers.– Amanda Gearing, Senior Organiser, GMB