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Amazon workers strike for first time in UK over 50p an hour pay offer

Image: Adobe Stock

Amazon workers have staged their first ever strike in the UK over a 50p per hour pay offer, after an industrial action ballot saw more than 98% of workers vote for the radical move.

Some 300 workers at Amazon’s fulfilment centre in Coventry have voted to walk out in anger over the company’s pay offer, with a 24 hour picket kicking off at 8am this morning. It is thought to be the first in a series of strikes at the Coventry hub and various other Amazon locations in the coming weeks.

The GMB Union, which represents the workers, had asked Amazon for a pay rise that would see the hourly rate rise from £10 to £15 per hour. Amazon’s offer sees that rise to between £10.50 and £11.45, depending on location. 

Stuart Richards, Senior Organiser at the trade union GMB, which mustered the strike, says: “Today, Amazon workers in Coventry will make history. They’ve defied the odds to become the first ever Amazon workers in the UK to go on strike. They’re taking on one of the world’s biggest companies to fight for a decent standard of living. They should be rightly proud of themselves. After six months of ignoring all requests to listen to workers’ concerns, GMB urges Amazon UK bosses to do the right thing and give workers a proper pay rise.” 

An Amazon spokesman said: “A tiny proportion of our workforce is involved. In fact, according to the verified figures, only a fraction of 1pc of our UK employees voted in the ballot – and that includes those who voted against industrial action.

“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.”

The dispute is not expected to impact deliveries to customers as the Coventry hub supplies stock to other Amazon fulfilment centres.

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