Amazon workers in Coventry have started a new round of strike action over pay during the cost-of-living crisis.
GMB union members plan three days of strikes at the massive BHX4 shopping centre in Coventry from Sunday, April 16 to Tuesday April 18, followed by three more days from 21 to 23 April.
By the end of April, workers will have been on strike for a total of 14 days.
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Workers assembled along a picket line for two hours beginning at 6.30am on April 16.
They want their pay to be increased to £15 per hour, up from the existing rate of £11 per hour.
It is the latest round of action for Coventry workers, who began protesting in January in the first industrial action against Amazon in the UK.
Since the start of the dispute, the GMB claims to have recruited hundreds of additional employees in Coventry and other Amazon locations across the UK.
More than 600 workers are now set to take part in the two three-day strikes, up from 300 earlier.
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The union believes it is approaching the 50 percent membership threshold required to apply for statutory recognition.
Amazon employees in Coventry have earned two 50p raises in hourly pay since the dispute began, bringing their earnings to £11 an hour.
The first salary boost came after an informal strike by employees last summer, and they were awarded another 50p in recent weeks.
They also received a £500 one-time cost of living allowance.
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However, workers argue that the wage increases do not adequately compensate them for working during the pandemic or provide them with adequate support in the face of rising food and energy expenses.
Amanda Gearing, GMB senior organiser said: “GMB members are worth more; they will not accept a pay rise of pennies from one of the world’s wealthiest corporations.”
“Three months ago, Amazon told our members there was no money left for pay rises, yet through pressure, campaigning and strike action, we’ve forced Amazon to sit up and take notice.”
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The union has previously said the current pay rises amounted only to an average of between 1.8 percent and 2.5 percent, and described this as an “insult”.
The GMB is currently looking to test the appetite for strike action among Amazon workers at another five UK distribution centers.
An Amazon spokesperson said: “We regularly review our pay to ensure we offer competitive wages, and recently announced another increase for our UK teams. Over the past seven months, our minimum pay has risen by 10%, and by more than 37% since 2018.”
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Amazon, which does not voluntarily recognise or negotiate with unions, has previously said the Coventry dispute involves under 1 percent of its total UK workforce.
Source: The Guardian
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