Coventry Amazon workers walk out over pay row in UK first

It's been a winter of strikes by Wednesday's walkout by Amazon workers has a big significance

Amazon workers are staging their first ever strike in the UK in a dispute over pay.

Members of the GMB at the company’s fulfilment centre in Coventry voted to walk out on Wednesday in protest against a pay rise the union said is worth 50p an hour.

Staff at the Coventry warehouse scan stock which is then sent out to Amazon fulfilment centres, in order to be shipped to consumers.

Stuart Richards, GMB senior organiser, said: “Today, Amazon workers in Coventry will make history. They’ve defied the odds to become the first ever Amazon workers in the UK to go on strike.

“They’re taking on one of the world’s biggest companies to fight for a decent standard of living. They should be rightly proud of themselves.

“After six months of ignoring all requests to listen to workers’ concerns, GMB urges Amazon UK bosses to do the right thing and give workers a proper pay rise.”

Staff at one of the company's vast warehouses in Coventry voted to down tools in a dispute over pay, ITV News' Joe Coshan reports

The comments come after it was revealed by ITV News in December that staff at one of the company's vast warehouses in Coventry had voted to down tools in a dispute over pay.

The ballot, which was held among around 300 workers, attracted a 63% turnout - well above the necessary threshold, with 98% voting to strike.

The strikes come amid a wave of industrial action over pay, jobs and conditions across an array of sectors, including transport, education and health.

An Amazon spokesperson said: “A tiny proportion of our workforce are involved.

“In fact, according to the verified figures, only a fraction of 1% of our UK employees voted in the ballot – and that includes those who voted against industrial action.

“We appreciate the great work our teams do throughout the year and we’re proud to offer competitive pay which starts at a minimum of between £10.50 and £11.45 per hour, depending on location.

“This represents a 29% increase in the minimum hourly wage paid to Amazon employees since 2018.

"Employees are also offered comprehensive benefits that are worth thousands more - including private medical insurance, life assurance, subsidised meals and an employee discount, to name a few.”

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