Amazon workers in Coventry balloted on strike action

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Amazon workers
Amazon workers in Coventry begin first ever strike ballot in UK

Hundreds of Amazon workers at a warehouse in Coventry are being balloted on whether to strike.

The online retail giant’s staff have been staging informal protests after an “insulting” pay offer, a union said.

Amazon has previously said it has increased its hourly rate to £11.45, depending on location, and that staff have “comprehensive benefits”.

The GMB Union said Coventry’s staff could be the first Amazon workers to strike in the UK, “making history”.

“These Amazon workers will be the first in the UK to take part in a formal strike ballot,” said Amanda Gearing from the union.

“They’re being offered a 35p-an-hour pay rise during the worst cost-of-living crisis in a generation – and that’s from a company worth more than £1 trillion.

“Understandably, they are furious.”

Voting began on Thursday. The ballot closes on 19 October, with any industrial action likely to take place in November.

Earlier this month, 300 GMB members took part in a consultative ballot, with the union reporting 97% indicated they were ready to strike.

Staff at the Lyon’s Park site staged a two-day protest in August, and informal demonstrations were also held at Amazon sites in Swindon and Tilbury in Essex.

Amazon said its pay offer, rising from £10.50 an hour, represented “a 29% increase in the minimum hourly wage paid to Amazon associates since 2018”.

It also said workers’ benefits included private medical insurance, life assurance, income protection, subsidised meals and an employee discount and more, which it added was “worth thousands of pounds annually” combined.

However, GMB said the global firm “can afford to do better”.

“It’s not too late to avoid strike action and to get round the table with GMB to improve the pay and conditions of workers,” Ms Gearing said.

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