UK Amazon workers staging longest strike of 5 days to demand pay raise
With Amazon being the globe's second-largest retailer following Walmart, it refused to acknowledge the GMB union and has frequently argued over why its workers should not unionize.
Employees at an Amazon warehouse in Coventry, UK, are preparing to conduct a five-day strike due to last until Friday, as close to 310 workers will demand improved pay and conditions.
The employees are considered the first UK employees of Amazon to take action by striking after receiving praise from Labour's Coventry South MP Zarah Sultana, who claimed they were 'making history'.
With Amazon being the globe's second-largest retailer following Walmart, it refused to acknowledge the GMB union, and has frequently argued over why its workers should not unionize. The Coventry workers are seeking payment of £15 an hour, which amounts to a 43% increase from the £10.50 rate they currently receive.
GMB senior organizer Amanda Gearing stated, "This unprecedented week-long strike shows the anger among Amazon workers in Coventry. They work for one of the richest companies in the world, yet they have to work round the clock to keep themselves afloat."
She expressed how "sickening" it is to earn barely over the country's minimum wage of £10.42. "Amazon bosses can stop this industrial action by doing the right thing and negotiating a proper pay rise with workers,' she added.
Gearing stated, "But people working for one of the most valuable companies in the world shouldn't have to threaten strike action just to win a wage they can live on. GMB urges Amazon UK bosses to give workers a proper pay rise and avoid industrial action."
Previously, an Amazon spokesperson commented on how the company "appreciates the great work" they put in, and expressed how "proud" it is to provide what they consider as competitive pay between £10.50 and £11.45 per hour.
"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, subsidized meals, and an employee discount, to name a few."
Amazon has been laying employees off by the thousands, namely in the US.
A few employees were laid off in November, and according to an inside source knowledgeable on the matter, Amazon still had a range of targets nearly concerning 10,000 job cuts, not sparing its retail division and human resources.
At a time when Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is promising to give away most of his wealth for charity, The New York Times revealed on November 14 that Amazon was planning to cut about 10,000 jobs mainly in corporate and technology roles.