Advertisement
Employment

Hundreds of Amazon warehouse workers stage wildcat strikes over ‘pathetic’ pay rise

At least 1,300 Amazon workers are thought to have taken part in the protests in four warehouses.

Workers at Amazon warehouses across the UK have downed tools over a “pathetic” pay rise.

The ‘wildcat’ or unofficial strikes were started by workers at the Tilbury warehouse on Wednesday night, and have now spread across the UK to Amazon distribution warehouses in Bristol, Staffordshire and Coventry. 

Some 300 staff at the warehouse in Avonmouth, near Bristol, stopped work for a second time on Friday in response to the 3 per cent pay rise, equating to an extra 35p an hour. 

Around 100 workers at the Lyon’s Park centre in Coventry demonstrated in the warehouse’s canteen, union GMB has said. Staff at the company’s Staffordshire warehouse also walked out to protest the pay offer, which has been reported to be an extra 50p an hour.  

Amazon recently emailed workers saying it would be raising wages “to a minimum of between £10.50 and £11.45p/h, depending on location,” but with inflation hitting 9.4 per cent in June, many workers said this wasn’t enough to cope with rising cost of living. 

Stuart Richard, a spokesperson for GMB, which has members who work at Amazon, said the firm imposed the rise on staff and “the workers are saying it isn’t enough”.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Amazon said its pay was “competitive” and staff were also offered a benefits package worth thousands annually.

“I believe there were four sites yesterday and allegedly there was a concern from within Amazon that this might spread worldwide,” GMB organiser Steve Garelick told the Mail Online. 

“The walk-outs have snowballed because people have had enough… It is about the behaviour towards staff.”

An employee at the Tilbury warehouse, where the sit-in began, told The Big Issue: “I’ve been to the gym and I’ve not been this tired, you’re physically drained, you can’t do nothing else afterwards, it’s disgusting.”

Amazon recently raised the cost of its Amazon Prime monthly subscription by £1, and its yearly annual membership from £79 to £95.

The wild cat strikes come as unions across the UK ballot for strike action, with rail workers, barristers and bin workers all taking part in industrial action, and nurses and postal workers casting their votes imminently.

Amazon has refused to recognise GMB, which prevents workers from collective bargaining, but GMB says its membership among Amazon workers is growing.

An Amazon spokesperson said: “Starting pay for Amazon employees will be increasing to a minimum of between £10.50 and £11.45p/h, depending on location. This is for all full-time, part-time, seasonal, and temporary roles in the UK.

“In addition to this competitive pay, employees are offered a comprehensive benefits package that includes private medical insurance, life assurance, income protection, subsidised meals and an employee discount among others, which combined are worth thousands annually, as well as a company pension plan.”

Minimum wage in the UK for people aged 23 and over is £9.50 an hour, while the independently calculated Real Living Wage  is £9.90 across the UK and £11.05 in London.

Advertisement

Every copy counts this Winter

Your local vendor is at the sharp end of the cost-of-living crisis this Winter. Prices of energy and food are rising rapidly. As is the cost of rent. All at their highest rate in 40 years. Vendors are amongst the most vulnerable people affected. Support our vendors to earn as much as they can and give them a fighting chance this Winter.

Recommended for you

Read All
Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to Border Force, here are the dates to know
Strike action

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to Border Force, here are the dates to know

Will giving workers a pay rise really make inflation worse? We asked expert economists
Inflation

Will giving workers a pay rise really make inflation worse? We asked expert economists

Thousands of ambulance staff and nurses strike over pay and conditions
NHS crisis

Thousands of ambulance staff and nurses strike over pay and conditions

Britain on strike: The biggest walkout in a decade in pictures
Employment

Britain on strike: The biggest walkout in a decade in pictures

Most Popular

Read All
Glen Matlock: 'I wish John Lydon stood by Anarchy In The UK's words'
1.

Glen Matlock: 'I wish John Lydon stood by Anarchy In The UK's words'

Louis CK’s sold-out show at Madison Square Garden proves there’s no such thing as cancel culture
2.

Louis CK’s sold-out show at Madison Square Garden proves there’s no such thing as cancel culture

Beyoncé fans enraged as some tickets cost more than a month's rent
3.

Beyoncé fans enraged as some tickets cost more than a month's rent

Here's when people will get the next cost of living payment in 2023
4.

Here's when people will get the next cost of living payment in 2023