Hundreds of Amazon workers walk out on Wednesday at an American giant warehouse in Coventry, central England, to demand better wages, a first for the company in the United Kingdom. “Hundreds of Amazon workers go on strike today in Coventry, more than 98% of them support the social movement“, tweeted the GMB union, with a photo where we see strikers.
Amazon workers had already walked out to demand better wages in the UK last summer, particularly at a warehouse in Tilbury, east London, but it was not officially a strike, which cannot intervene only after certain formalities, including a vote by the employees. MP and ex-Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tweeted a picture of workers huddled together carrying GMB signs that read “we are worth more” Where “the exploitation of Amazon workers must end. I support Amazon workers, they are not robots“. “It takes an Amazon warehouse worker over 8 weeks of work to earn what CEO Jeff Bezos earns in a single secondtweeted Mr Corbyn, adding: “they go on strike for the first time in the UK to demand better pay and conditionsof work.
Closure of three distribution centers
A GMB manager interviewed by the BBC points out that employees are currently earning £10 an hour and cannot live on this level of pay. They are asking for 15 pounds, arguing that a digital giant like Amazon can afford it. Amazon announced a few days ago a reorganization in the United Kingdom including the closure of three fulfillment centers employing 1,200 people and the opening of two others with 2,500 future hires.
Meanwhile, Amazon recently announced some 18,000 job cuts worldwide. Amazon, which had recruited with a vengeance during the pandemic to meet the explosion in demand, notably saw its net profit drop by 9% over one year in the third quarter of 2022 to 2.87 billion dollars. The US Labor Law Agency (NLRB) on Wednesday validated the vote that led to the creation, in early 2022, of the first union in one of Amazon’s warehouses in the United States, a vote against which the company had filed objections.