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Amazon workers set to take strike action for the first time in the UK UPDATED

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Amazon workers in the UK are expected to go on strike for the first time in the New Year.

More than 98% of workers from the Coventry warehouse who voted in a ballot have opted to take action to reject a 50p per hour pay offer, according to the GMB trade union. Turnout in the ballot was more than 63% of its membership, says the GMB. Any action is now expected to take place in the New Year, although notice of dates has yet to be issued to Amazon. 

Amazon says that only 20% of the 1,400-strong workforce at Coventry were balloted – and only 12% of the total workforce voted in favour.

Amanda Gearing, GMB senior organiser, says: “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.”   

The GMB has been campaigning on behalf of Amazon workers since 2013, but this is the first time they have voted to take part in strike action. The union is not officially recognised by Amazon. 

An Amazon spokesperson says: “We appreciate the great work our teams do throughout the year and we’re proud to offer competitive pay which starts at a minimum of between £10.50 and £11.45 per hour, depending on location. This represents a 29% increase in the minimum hourly wage paid to Amazon employees since 2018.

“Employees are also offered comprehensive benefits that are worth thousands more—including private medical insurance, life assurance, subsidised meals and an employee discount, to name a few. On top of this, we’re pleased to have announced that full-time, part-time and seasonal frontline employees will receive an additional one-time special payment of up to £500 as an extra thank you.”

Any strike action will come on top of action by Royal Mail workers and by rail workers that have both affected peak season shopping. While the former has caused many retailers to bring forward their pre-Christmas delivery dates, the latter is thought to have had a measurable effect on in-store footfall. 

Amazon is an Elite retailer in RXUK Top500 research

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