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Amazon workers stage first-ever strike in the UK over pay, working conditions


Amazon packages move on a conveyor belt at a fulfillment center in the UK.

Nathan Stirk | beautiful pictures

Amazon Workers are on strike in Britain, in a move that marks the first official industrial action in the country against the US tech giant.

The 24-hour strike action begins on Wednesday one minute after midnight. Strikers are expected to gather outside the company’s site in Coventry, central England throughout the day. The union GMB, which represents the workers involved, said it hoped hundreds of employees would join the protest.

Employees are not satisfied with a pay increase of 50 pence (56 US cents) per hour, which is 5% and much less than inflation. Amazon introduced a pay raise last summer. But warehouse workers say it doesn’t match the rising cost of living. They want the company to pay a minimum of £15 an hour.

They also want better working conditions. Amazon workers have complained about long working hours, as well as Active supervision, technology enhancement of employees.

A spokesperson for the tech giant told CNBC in a statement that the employees involved represent “only a fraction of our 1% of UK employees.” The spokesperson said that Amazon UK warehouse worker pay has increased 29% since 2018 and pointed to a one-time £500 payment being paid to staff to help solve the cost crisis Living.

The action against Wednesday was the first legally mandated strike to take place in the UK. Amazon employees in the UK previously voluntarily stopped working in August and on Black Friday in November.

‘Historic’

Darren Westwood, one of the Amazon workers participating in the strikes, said “it’s been a long way” until what he describes as “historic”.

“We’ve all seen the profits they’ve made during the pandemic – that’s what makes people angrier,” Westwood told CNBC by phone. “We were expecting a better increase than what they had imposed.”

Inflation spiked due to rising energy costs and supply chain disruptions stemming from the war in Ukraine. Consumer prices in December increased by 10.5% over the same period last year; In response, the Bank of England raised interest rates to tame rising costs.

Westwood says he and his partner are now in a reasonable financial position. But he worries about other employees, one of whom he says worked 60 hours a week paying off mortgages.

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