Amazon will make a one-off payment of up to £500 for its hourly paid employees to help them with the cost of living crunch while it attempts to fend off union criticism on pay.
Employees will receive two instalments of £250, one this month and one later in December.
It comes as Amazon has received some scrutiny over pay at its UK warehouses in recent months, with union bosses on Thursday again slamming the tech firm for not going far enough to help workers.
In a statement, Amazon said “Amazon employees receive competitive pay and comprehensive benefits.
“Starting pay is a minimum of between £10.50 and £11.45 per hour, depending on location.”
The e-commerce giant also said that its workers receive “a comprehensive benefits package” which includes private medical insurance, life assurance, income protection, subsidised meals, and an employee discount.
“This company is ridiculously wealthy and should do much more to help low-paid Amazon workers with the cost of living crisis,” union GMB’s senior organiser, Amanda Gearing told CityA.M..
While there had been speculation among staff that the payments would be tied to a 100 per cent attendance criteria, CityA.M. understands that workers will still receive the payments if they are unwell or on annual leave.
However, it was unclear what would happen in the event of absence due to industrial action.
Hundreds of workers are voting on whether to walk out over Amazon’s 35 pence per hour pay offer, with GMB calling for a £2 per hour increase.
The vote could mean 300 members of staff refuse to work, causing severe disruption for distribution at that centre.
Workers were “making history” by voting in the ballot, according to GMB’s Amanda Gearing. Results of the ballot will be announced shortly after voting closes on 19 October.
“Amazon can afford to do better,” she said earlier this month. “It’s not too late to avoid strike action; get round the table with GMB to improve the pay and conditions of workers.”
More informal protests have also taken place recently, including two-nights of action by warehouse workers in Tilbury, Essex last month.
Last week, an Amazon spokesperson said: “We conduct wage reviews annually to ensure employees are earning competitive hourly wages that are in line with, or higher than, similar jobs locally.”
The US-based company, which employs around 1.5m frontline workers, upped the average pay of workers across the pond last week,
It said it would boost salaries from $18 to $19 (£16.60 to £17.60) per hour, while transportation teams would earn between $16 and $26 an hour.