For the first time ever, Amazon warehouse workers in the UK are staging a strike over underpay and severe working conditions.
They accused Amazon of mistreatment at the warehouse and a tad bit raise in pay – while it made billions of dollars in profit during the pandemic time. Demanding a better pay raise and working conditions, the protesting workers staged their strike on January 25th.
Protesting For a Better Pay and Environment
Amazon has seen a number of strikes led by its US workers in the past. But for the first time, it sees a strike triggered by its UK union workers over pay raise and severe working conditions.
Rejecting the mere £0.50 pay raise (62 cents), the GMB union workers demand Amazon increase the hourly wage to £15 ($18.48) and improve working conditions. Today’s strike was approved by 98% of the GMB union workers at Amazon’s Coventry fulfillment center, which consists of 1,000 members.
Over 300 members of the total union are expected to participate in this strike, where two protestors speaking to BBC said Amazon’s warehouse robots “are treated better than us.” Darren Westwood, one of the interviewed persons from the union, said employees are constantly monitored and questioned for any idle time lasting a few minutes.
He said that some had to work 60 hours a week to make ends meet! Further, Amazon’s latest pay raise from £10.50 to £11.45 per hour was a “smack in the mouth” when compared to their profits and high inflation. He noted,
“These people had worked two years through the pandemic, that had seen Amazon’s shares go through the roof; they had seen the profits just become unimaginable.”
Responding to these accusations, Amazon, in a statement to Engadget, said the number of people striking today represents “only a fraction of 1% of our UK employees,” and it has increased the pay by 29% since 2018, alongside a one-time £500 payment to help workers with inflation.