Amazon customer shipments ‘are hit by delays’ as warehouse wildcat strikes spread to FOUR sites in protest over online giant’s ‘pathetic’ 35p-per-hour increase for workers
- Walk-outs took place in Tilbury, Coventry, Bristol and Rugeley, says union GMB
- GMB said workers have been told they will get a new pay proposal in a week
- They are calling for a £2-per-hour pay rise to deal with the cost-of-living crisis
Walk-outs in protest of a ‘pathetic’ 35p-per-hour pay rise have now spread to four Amazon warehouses, with workers saying that the impromptu action has already affected customer shipments.
Protests took place yesterday in Tilbury, Essex; Coventry; Bristol; and Rugeley, Staffordshire, GMB Regional Organiser Steve Garelick told MailOnline.
Videos and photos shared on social media show warehouse workers sitting in the canteen and refusing to work after being offered a pay rise branded ‘pathetic’ by the union GMB.
A worker from the Rugeley site told BirminghamLive that the walk-out had ‘affected a lot of customer shipments’.
It comes as the cost-of-living crisis and soaring inflation has sparked a summer of strikes which look set to continue into the autumn, as Brits struggle to keep up with the rising cost of food and other essential items – while interest rates were also bumped up to a new high of 1.75% yesterday.
GMB said workers were ‘seeking a £2 per hour pay rise to better match the demands of the role and cope with the cost-of-living crisis’.
Mr Garelick, who was at the canteen sit-in in Tilbury last night, said the former General Manager tried to ‘suppress’ dissent, with workers now having been told that the company will get back to them in seven days with a ‘further proposal’.
Walk-outs which started at the Amazon warehouse in Tilbury have now spread to three other sites. Pictured: The BRS1 warehouse in Bristol last night
Workers have been sitting in the canteen and refusing to work in protest to a ‘pathetic’ 35p-per-hour pay rise. Pictured: Workers holding a sit-in at the BHX4 warehouse in Coventry
Amazon, which is owned by billionaire Jeff Bezos, has faced criticism from workers in several countries over its low pay and allegedly poor working conditions in some factories and warehouses.
The U.S. tech and retail giant, whose UK sales topped £23 billion last year, first sparked fury at the Tilbury plant when it said the starting hourly rate would increase from £11.10 to £11.45 in an email to staff.
Mr Garelick told MailOnline: ‘The walk-outs have snowballed because people had had enough.
‘It is about the behaviours towards staff.
‘If you hear how the manager speaks to people you will know that frankly if you were spoken to like that you would feel patronised.
‘I believe there were four sites yesterday and allegedly there was a concern from within Amazon that this might spread worldwide.
Videos shared on social media show Amazon workers at the Tilbury warehouse sitting in the canteen instead of working
‘Amazon are trying to quell this as best they can. They are using very unusual tactics.
‘They have had security guards watching what people are doing with their mobile devices. People are sharing information on social media and if they are not able to do that it makes it very hard to motivate people.’
He also said that the staff canteen had stopped serving food, forcing workers to order Uber Eats and Deliveroo in order to continue the sit-in through the night.
A 24-year-old packer said he joined the sit-in protest in Tilbury because he doesn’t think he should have to work six days in order to pay rent ‘and live a normal life’.
Marius Brezeanu told the BBC: ‘For a couple of months, I have been eating just one meal a day [to save money].
‘We will continue [to protest], everyone is still motivated to do it.’
The walk-outs started at the Tilbury warehouse (pictured) on Wednesday after workers received an email saying the starting hourly rate would increase from £11.10 to £11.45.
Amazon said their workers receive a ‘competitive’ salary that is above the Real Living Wage but workers are not happy with the 35p-per-hour pay rise in light of the current cost-of-living crisis
An Amazon spokesman said: ‘Starting pay for Amazon employees will be increasing to a minimum of between £10.50 and £11.45 per hour, depending on location.
‘This is for all full-time, part-time, seasonal, and temporary roles in the UK.
‘In addition to this competitive pay, employees are offered a comprehensive benefits package that includes private medical insurance, life assurance, income protection, subsidised meals and an employee discount among others, which combined are worth thousands annually, as well as a company pension plan.’
The spokesman said the minimum hourly rate paid to Amazon associates in the UK has increased by 29% since 2018 and added that the wages being offered to warehouse staff are well above national minimum wage, currently £9.50 per hour, and the Real Living Wage, £9.90 per hour or £11.05 in London.
Asked about the impact of walk-outs on deliveries the spokesman added: ‘The network is huge so we have not been made aware of any delays.’
Warehouse workers are staging a ‘sit-in’ to protest the pay offer, with the impact on deliveries currently unknown
Last month Amazon drivers and warehouse staff signed an open letter calling on the online retail giant to stop forcing them to work at an ‘inhumane pace’.
With increased pressure in the lead up to Prime Day, the workers pleaded with the company to ‘bin unfair targets’ and end the ‘constant surveillance’.
They said: ‘Working in an Amazon warehouse today is so stressful. Even the tools we use, like scanners, are tracking us.
‘We’re always worried about how many seconds we have left to pick up a parcel. We can’t even see all of the targets you track – and it makes it impossible for us to know if our jobs are ever safe. We try to keep up, but it wears people out.’
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has a net worth of $165 billion while his workers at the Tilbury warehouse have just been offered a 3% pay rise. Pictured: The Amazon founder and his girlfriend Lauren Sanchez in London on Wednesday night
Just how rich is Amazon founder Jeff Bezos?
With a net worth of around $165 billion, Jeff Bezos is the world’s second-richest person, coming in behind Tesla’s Elon Musk.
He began his career as a hedge-funder in New York before leaving to start Amazon, a company now worth about $1.5 trillion.
His property empire is worth almost $600 million, having bought 14 mansions over 23 years.
When Mr Bezos divorced from MacKenzie Scott in 2019, she walked away with the biggest settlement ever awarded in a marital split: $38 billion in Amazon stock. This made her the world’s fourth richest woman.
Last year the Amazon founder faced criticism over his ten minute suborbital flight on the Blue Origin which reportedly cost more than $5 billion.
Pay and conditions at billionaire Jeff Bezos’ online retail giant have been criticised by employees from around the world.
With nine in ten UK shoppers using Amazon, the company’s UK sales have grown from £3 billion to nearly £27 billion in a decade.
It currently employs around 33,000 people within its warehouse and logistics workforce – and more than a million people worldwide, according to Forbes.
The pandemic has only added to the rise of online shopping, with over half (55 per cent) of shoppers saying Amazon had proven essential during the lockdowns in 2020.
But staff have told how the pressure put on them to deliver such targets has turned them into ‘slaves’ and robots’.
It was reported last year that ambulances had been called to the firm’s ‘fulfilment centres’ nearly 1,000 times since 2018 – including 178 callouts to the site in Tilbury.
The company’s founder Jeff Bezos, who has a net worth of $165 billion, was pictured with his model partner Lauren Sanchez as they left the Ham Yard Hotel in Soho, London on Wednesday night.
Ms Sanchez, 52, carried a pink crocodile Hermes Birkin bag that is worth around $100,000 in the latest picture from their UK trip.
Bezos is thought to have spent $109 (£90) per ticket for up to 30 of his family members to be shown around Buckingham Palace’s art collection on Monday.
It’s unclear when exactly the businessman first started dating Sanchez, but it’s been said that they got together while he was still married to his ex-wife, Mackenzie Scott.
Their affair was exposed by the National Enquirer in January 2019. Soon after, the businessman split from his wife of over 25 years and the mother of his four children.
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