Amazon workers commence three days of industrial action at the firm’s Coventry warehouse today as a dispute over pay drags on and continues to disrupt its operations.
This is the fifth time this year that members of the GMB Union have walked out over low pay, with strikes taking place nearly every month since the start of this year. .
GMB has accused Amazon of playing “dirty tricks”, saying that the company deliberately went on a hiring spree to deprive the union of the 50 percent of workers required for statutory union recognition.
“Earlier this year, in one of the busiest periods for retail, Amazon told people there were around 1,400 workers in Coventry,” said Stuart Richards, GMB Senior Organiser.
But according to current GMB members working in Coventry, Amazon has now recruited more than 1,000 new workers who have “flooded” the warehouse.
Richards said “GMB believes this was purely in response to GMB membership growing so close to the threshold for statutory union recognition”.
“It’s dirty tricks, plain and simple,” he said.
GMB claim that previous strike action boosted their membership up to 800, which would have been enough for the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) to accept their application.
The union says Amazon’s fluster of recruitment activity has quashed these hopes though.
“We have no alternative but to withdraw the application for statutory recognition, but we’re not going away,” Richards said.
An Amazon spokesperson told City A.M.: ” We respect our employees’ rights to join, or not to join, a union.
“Amazon offers competitive pay, comprehensive benefits and opportunities for career growth, all while working in a safe, modern, work environment.
“These benefits and opportunities come with the job, as does the ability to communicate directly with the leadership of the company.”
In January the GMB voted to strike for the first time ever in protest against what they deemed an insufficient hourly pay rise of 50 pence, and are demanding an hourly wage of £15 per hour.
Job search website Indeed lists an Amazon warehouse worker as earning £12.90 per hour, while a warehouse associate earns £11.04 per hour.