The second Amazon UK strike at their Coventry warehouse has started this morning, with further strikes due on Thursday this week, the 2nd of March, and for a whole week between the 14th and 17th of March.
Organised by the GMB Union, which Amazon do not officially recognise, workers are calling for a close to 50% pay rise to £15 per hour. Amazon say that they offer competitive pay which has risen by 29% since 2018 and with a recent 50p rise currently sits at around £10.50 per hour (slightly more in some areas), plus additional benefits which can include private medical insurance, life assurance, subsidised meals and an employee discount.
Workers complain that they are ‘treated like robots’, each package they pick is timed and they complain even toilet breaks are monitored. Amazon naturally say that monitoring the time to pick is a normal feature of any effective warehouse operation, and that employees can clock out for toilet breaks meaning that this time isn’t tracked as down time.
The GMB claim around 350 staff will be on strike of the 1,500 that work at the Coventry location and emphasise that less than 1% of their UK workforce voted in the strike ballot, including those that voted against striking.
The impact of the Amazon UK strike will be minimal, as Coventry is a staging depot for goods to restock other Amazon facilities and doesn’t directly fulfil any customer orders. If you’ve made a purchase on Amazon it’s highly unlikely that it will be delayed by this action.
As with all strikes taking place in the cost of living crisis, staff have any number of complaints about working conditions but all they are asking for is a massive pay rise. They claim Amazon makes millions and could easily afford to hike their pay.
Expect the GMB to continue to call for industrial action, to go on a recruitment drive to engage more workers, and for them to target additional Amazon locations as soon as they have sufficient numbers of workers willing to vote to lose pay and go on strike.