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Amazon workers vote to strike at Coventry depot in UK first

Tom Shearsmith
19 December 2022

Amazon workers at a depot in Coventry are set to go on strike in January 2023 after securing a historic yes vote in a ballot for industrial action.

Members of the GMB union opted to hold a second ballot after missing the 50% turnout threshold earlier this year. The turnover this time reached 63%, with 98% of those backing strike action.

The ballot marks the first time Amazon workers in the UK have voted to go on strike. Employees are demanding that their hourly pay should be increased to £15.

The Coventry depot receives goods from sellers and sorts them into batches to be dispatched to Amazon’s fulfilment centres, which then sends out parcels to consumers.

Amanda Gearing, a senior organiser at the GMB, told The Guardian: “Amazon workers in Coventry have made history – they should be applauded for their grit and determination – fighting for what’s right in the face of an appallingly hostile environment.”

Hayley Greaves, a GMB member who works at the Coventry plant, added: “The cost of living is going up and we’re really struggling. People are doing 60 hours a week if they can get it, or if they can’t get 60 hours, they’re doing other jobs.

“Different people are joining for different reasons. If we all join together and we stick together, we might have a fighting chance to make some changes for everyone.”

An Amazon spokesperson said: “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 a hour, depending on location. This represents a 29% increase in the minimum hourly wage paid to Amazon employees since 2018.”

Amazon added that employees would receive an extra one-off £500 payment, “as an extra thank you”.

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