GMB warns of “summer of strike chaos” at Amazon as it announces six new dates

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GMB has warned of a “summer of strike chaos” at Amazon after the union announced six further days of industrial action at the company’s Coventry warehouse and the start of strike ballots at five new sites.

The union said today more than 560 workers in Coventry will walk out on April 16th to 18th and again on April 21st to 23rd in an ongoing dispute over pay that has already seen members take eight days of strike action.

GMB also said its members at five other fufillment centres in the Midlands will begin balloting over industrial action, specifically in Mansfield, Coalville, Kegworth, Rugeley and Rugby. The union said the ballots would run for several weeks.

GMB senior organiser Amanda Gearing said: “Industrial action is growing, and this could fast become a summer of strike chaos at Amazon. 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.

“Six further days of strike action in Coventry is a clear statement from our members they are worth more; they will not accept a pay rise of pennies from one of the world’s wealthiest corporations.

“With workers at five further sites starting ballots for industrial action this month, it’s clear Amazon need to urgently get serious and talk pay with GMB now.”

Workers at the Coventry warehouse staged the first strike in the UK in Amazon’s history on January 25th, following an industrial action ballot that saw 98% vote to strike on a turnout of more than 63%.

GMB said members had voted to strike “in anger over the company’s 50p-per-hour pay offer”. According to the union, its members currently receive £10.50 per hour. GMB has called for pay to be increased to £15 per hour.

Amazon told ITV News in December that the company offers “competitive pay which starts at a minimum of between £10.50 and £11.45 per hour depending on location”, which it said represents a 29% increase since 2018.

GMB announced seven further days of strike action by workers in Coventry last month, with members walking out on February 28th and March 2nd, before taking part in a week-long strike from March 13th to 17th.

Amazon announced in July 2022 that its total UK revenues rose by 12.6% during the previous year to £23.2bn. Amazon UK Services, the company’s warehouse and logistics operation, grew its revenues by just over a quarter to £6.09bn.

In an interview with LabourList in December, TUC general secretary Paul Nowak identified Amazon as an employer that unions globally have “got to get to grips with”, adding that he hopes the strike action by workers in Coventry will be a “little bit of the spark that lights the flame”.

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