Over the course of the last few years, Amazon has been notably embroiled in contention with its workers over unionization, working conditions, and workers’ rights. That fight may have boiled over in the UK where the staff of an Amazon warehouse have staged the first ever strike against the Amazon company in the nation. The strike comes amid frustration with poor pay in relation to inflation, as well as poor working conditions at the facility.
Word of the Amazon UK warehouse strike comes via reports from CNBC. The strike began on Wednesday, January 25, 2023, at the Coventry Amazon Warehouse site near Birmingham Airport, and is expected to last for 24 hours. It was organized via the GMB Union, which has advocated for many of the workers involved. It is expected that around 300 of the facility’s 1000 staff will take part in the strike, demanding better pay and conditions for the workers. Workers were discontent with a pay raise of 50 pence, or 56 U.S. cents, which was well below rising costs from inflation. The demonstrators want the company to raise pay to a minimum of £15 an hour.
The Amazon UK demonstrators are also demanding better working conditions, claiming that the current conditions include long hours, high injury rates, and a breakneck pace of work. This continues in line with reports of bad conditions at Amazon worksites for quite a few years, including anti-union agendas and entirely inhospitable conditions that included allegedly forcing workers to keep bottles around to urinate in on the job as opposed to taking proper bathroom breaks. This also comes as Amazon revealed plans to lay off around 18,000 workers to cut costs.
Despite this, an Amazon spokesperson claimed that the strike includes “only a fraction of 1% of our UK employees.” Said spokesperson claimed that pay for Amazon UK’s warehouse workers has actually increased 29 percent since 2018, not including a £500 one-time which was meant to aid workers during the recent financial crisis.
Nonetheless, it looks like Amazon and its workforce continues to clash over pay, rights, and conditions in the workplace. As the strike continues, stay tuned as we continue to cover updates to this story and further Amazon news.