By The Financial District
Amazon Workers Hold Walkout In UK, Add To Labor Turmoil
Amazon warehouse workers went on strike for the first time in Britain on Wednesday, because of a dispute over pay and working conditions, adding to a wave of industrial labor action across the country fueled by the soaring cost of living, Kelvin Chan reported for the Associated Press (AP).
Photo Insert: The company said it is offering “competitive pay” starting at 10.50 to 11.45 pounds an hour, depending on location.
Union members voted to walk off the job for one day at the e-commerce giant’s fulfillment center in Coventry, a city about 100 miles (160 kilometers) northwest of London near Birmingham.
Amanda Gearing, a senior organizer with the GMB union, said Amazon staff who worked through tough conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic are just “trying to get decent pay.”
Another big issue is performance targets set by an algorithm that piles extra pressure on workers, she said.
The union is fighting for a bigger pay raise than the company’s offer, which it says amounts to an extra 50 pence (61 cents) an hour. Amazon, which operates 30 fulfillment centers in the UK, said 2,000 workers are employed at the Coventry facility.
The union says 98% of those who took part in the vote decided to strike, and Amazon said that amounts to only 178 workers, Haleluya Hadero also reported for AP.
The company said it is offering “competitive pay” starting at 10.50 to 11.45 pounds an hour, depending on location. Amazon says that is a 29% increase in the minimum hourly wage for employees since 2018.
Business at Seattle-based Amazon boomed during the pandemic but, like other tech companies, it has been reversing recent expansions as it faces economic uncertainty.
This month, it announced 18,000 layoffs. Amazon staff are the latest group of British workers to join the picket lines as high food and energy prices drive the highest inflation in decades.
Nurses, ambulance workers, train drivers, border staff, driving instructors, bus drivers, teachers, and postal workers have all walked off their jobs in recent months to demand higher pay amid the cost-of-living crisis.
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