Union to ballot Amazon workers on industrial action as some staff start strike

The GMB union said more of its members at the online giant are to vote on industrial action in an escalation of a row over pay.

Alan Jones
Tuesday 07 November 2023 09:46 GMT
Members of the GMB union on the picket line outside the Amazon fulfilment centre in Coventry (Jacob King/PA)
Members of the GMB union on the picket line outside the Amazon fulfilment centre in Coventry (Jacob King/PA)

More workers at online giant Amazon are to be balloted for strikes as workers at one of the company’s sites launched a series of walkouts on Tuesday in a long-running dispute over pay.

Members of the GMB union at the online giant’s Coventry site are on strike for three days, and will take more industrial action on November 24 – Black Friday.

The union announced that its members at Amazon’s site in Birmingham are to be balloted for strikes in the same dispute.

GMB official Rachel Fagan said: “Today more than 1,000 GMB members at Amazon will down tools and take to the picket line in the first day of strike action leading to Black Friday.

“This is an unprecedented and historic moment with low-paid workers taking on one of the world’s most powerful corporations.

“This action will bring the total days lost at Amazon to strike action to nearly 30.

“Now we’re seeing industrial action snowballing with workers launching a new strike vote at Amazon Birmingham.

“With a winter of strike chaos looming, it’s time for Amazon bosses to urgently listen to their workers”.

The union has criticised a pay offer it said was worth £1 an hour.

Black Friday, one of the busiest shopping days of the year, is expected to be hit by strike action internationally, with Amazon workers set to take industrial action in Europe and the USA.

An Amazon spokesperson said: “We offer competitive pay, comprehensive benefits, opportunities for career growth, all while working in a safe, modern, work environment.

“At Amazon, these benefits and opportunities come with the job, as does the ability to communicate directly with the leadership of the company.”

The company added that its minimum starting pay is between £11.80 and £12.50 an hour depending on location for all full-time, part-time and seasonal roles and from April 2024, minimum starting pay will increase to between £12.30 and £13 per hour, depending on location.

The increases represent a £170 million investment in pay and mean Amazon’s minimum starting pay will have risen by 20% in two years, and 50% since 2018, the company said.

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