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Amazon workers walk out in pay dispute

Emma Lunn
Written By:
Emma Lunn

GMB Union members working in Coventry for the online giant have begun the first of two three-day strikes.

The union said 600 members walked out from 06:30 yesterday and won’t return until tomorrow. Further action is scheduled for 21 to 23 April.

The striking workers are based at an Amazon centre in Coventry known as BHX4. They gathered at a picket line for two hours from 06.30 on Sunday and two hours on Sunday afternoon. They are demanding a pay increase from £11 to £15 an hour.

Amazon previously said that minimum pay had risen by 10% and by more than 37% since 2018. It also claimed it offered “competitive wages”.

The first pay increase came after staff held an informal walkout last summer, and they were awarded a subsequent 50p in recent weeks. They have also received a one-off £500 cost of living payment.

But Amazon workers and union say the wage increases fail to recognise the fact that they worked through the pandemic, nor offer them sufficient support in the face of the cost of living crisis.

GMB said in a Tweet: “Today hundreds of Amazon workers strike at the Coventry warehouse. They deserve better than pennies – they deserve a decent pay rise. Are you listening @AmazonUK ??”

GMB says it has signed up hundreds of new members in the workforce in Coventry and at other Amazon sites across the country since the beginning of the pay dispute. The union said it is getting closer to the 50% membership level that would allow it to apply for statutory recognition.

Amanda Gearing, GMB senior organiser, said: “GMB members are worth more; they will not accept a pay rise of pennies from one of the world’s wealthiest corporations. Three months ago, Amazon told our members there was no money left for pay rises, yet through pressure, campaigning and strike action, we’ve forced Amazon to sit up and take notice.”