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GMB calls for £15 an hour minimum pay at Amazon warehouses in UK

·2-min read
<span>Photograph: Nathan Stirk/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

The GMB union has submitted formal pay claims to Amazon seeking a minimum of £15 an hour for workers at its UK warehouses as unofficial protests continue to dog the online retailer.

Hundreds of workers in warehouses across the country, including Tilbury in Essex, Dartford in Kent, Belvedere in south-east London, Coventry, Avonmouth, near Bristol and Rugeley in Staffordshire, stopped work last week after Amazon offered workers a 35p an hour pay rise – equivalent to about 3% compared with the June inflation rate of 9.4%.

It is understood that walkouts from shifts, sit-ins at canteens and “go-slow” protests have continued at a smaller scale this week as workers continued to hope for a better offer from Amazon. Further coordinated action by workers was expected from midnight on Tuesday around the country.

Staff at Tilbury, where the unofficial industrial action started, now receive a minimum of £11.10 an hour and had been calling for an increase of £2.

Amazon said that nationally staff were being offered a 35p rise to £10.50 or £11.45 an hour depending on location and defended its “competitive” pay package.

The GMB, which is not officially recognised by Amazon but has members in its warehouses, is asking for talks facilitated by the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas).

So far, Amazon has only held meetings with small groups of staff, which it has said was in order to ensure that “all workers’ voices can be heard”.

“In order to retain staff, Amazon now needs to reward [them] with a decent pay award,” a letter from the union to Amazon seen by the Guardian says.

Regional claims have been submitted in Coventry, the West Midlands and in London alongside a national claim.

Andy Prendergast, GMB national secretary, said: “Amazon workers deserve a decent pay rise. They are the backbone of the company – one of the most profitable on Earth.

“When the high street was shut down through Covid, Amazon continued to make money. The least it can do is share those profits with their workers.”

Amazon said the planned pay rise would represent a 29% increase in the minimum hourly wage for warehouse workers since 2018. It added: “On top of this, employees are offered a comprehensive benefits package that includes private medical insurance, life assurance, income protection, subsidised meals, an employee discount and more, which combined are worth thousands of pounds annually, as well as a company pension plan.”