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Formal Strike To Be Held By Amazon Employees In The UK For The First Time Ever

Formal Strike To Be Held By Amazon Employees In The UK For The First Time Ever
Hundreds of employees of the e-commerce giant Amazon are slated to go on a strike, according to the GMB union in the United Kingdom, which will be the first such strike for the company's employees in the country.
Employees at Amazon's Coventry warehouse in central England voted on Friday to strike, with a walkout scheduled for January 2023. The Coventry facility employs approximately 1,000 people.
The workers are dissatisfied with Amazon's summer pay increase of 3%, or 50 pence per hour, which they claim does not keep pace with rising living costs. They want Amazon to pay at least £15 per hour.
Consumer prices have reached a 41-year high as a result of rising energy costs and supply chain disruptions.
On Thursday, the Bank of England raised interest rates in an effort to slow inflation.
Though Amazon employees in the United Kingdom previously stopped working in August and on Black Friday in November in protest of the summer pay increase, these were unplanned, unannounced labor withdrawals.
This will be the first legally mandated strike in the United Kingdom.
GMB senior organizer Amanda Gearing said the Coventry workers "should be applauded for their grit and determination."
“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,” Gearing said in a statement.
“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.”
On a turnout of more than 63%, approximately 98% of the workers who voted chose to strike.
“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,” an Amazon spokesperson said  in an emailed statement to the media, an Amazon spokesperson said:
“This represents a 29 per cent 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,” the spokesperson added.
Amazon has long been chastised for its labor practices, with the company frequently accused of inhumane working conditions in its warehouses and delivery operations. Employees at the company's Staten Island warehouse in New York became the first in the United States to vote in favor of unionization in April.
The walkout will contribute to the nationwide wave of industrial action. Nurses, rail workers, postal workers, ambulance workers, airport staff, Border Force agents, highway workers, Eurostar staff, civil servants, bus drivers, firefighters, charity workers, meteorologists, and offshore workers have all announced upcoming strike actions in recent weeks.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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