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Staff at Amazon's Coventry warehouse plan to 'make history' with strike

Chloe Burney
23 January 2023

Amazon workers at its Coventry depot, which opened in 2018, are set to go on strike this week after securing a historic yes vote in a ballot for industrial action.

The ballot marks the first time Amazon workers in the UK have voted to go on strike, which will be held from midnight to midnight on Wednesday 25 January. Employees are demanding that their hourly pay should be increased to £15.

Amanda Gearing, GMB Senior Organiser, said: "Amazon workers in Coventry are set to make history on January 25, becoming the first-ever Amazon workers in the UK to go on strike. They’ve shown they’re willing to put themselves on the line to fight for what’s right."

Amazon worker Darren Westwood predicts that around 250 people will strike. Two picket lines will be set up; one on Sayer Drive and another near the local bus stop.

Westwood commented: "The original discontent started with the introduction of a 50p wage rise which was introduced. We expected a lot more. Everyone is aware of how much Amazon made during the pandemic - that was from us grafting. After the announcement, about 500 people walked off the floor and refused to go back to work."

He predicts this will be the first of a series of strikes, adding: "We know it will be a long fight. The 25th is just going to be a show of strength but it is just the beginning... Back in July, we had just 30 members out of 1,500 staff but by the time the original vote took place there was 300 members. There has been huge growth."

An Amazon spokesman responded to strike plans, adding: "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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