Hundreds of Amazon workers at warehouse in the UK go on strike for the first time

Hundreds of Amazon workers in the UK went on strike for the first time over a wage dispute at the company’s warehouse in Coventry. Nearly 300 employees of the online giant left their jobs demanding a pay rise in an action organized by the GMB union. Workers waiting on the strike line said they struggled to live on their current wages during the cost of living crisis. They were given a 5 percent salary increase, which the union said was worth just 50 pence an hour, which led to industrial action outside the firm’s supply center today (Tsar). Nazeret Zemuy works as a buyer, sorting incoming parcels at the warehouse and now earning £10.50 an hour after a 50p increase last August. The 23-year-old from Birmingham, who works 40 hours a week, said: “We have to charge more than we currently use. I’m struggling to support myself. “Everything is getting so much more expensive and it’s hard to deal with.” we need to pay more to get out. “I should have worked around 60 hours a week to better support myself, but then I wouldn’t have a life and I’d be at work all the time. “We need more salaries and that’s the only way.” Wandemu Habtemichael, 28, of Coventry, has been working as a warehouse buyer since October 2018, working five, 10-hour shifts a week. She charges £10.80 an hour because she’s worked there for over three years and says she’s only striking for better pay, not working conditions. The father of two said, “We are on strike for a raise in our salaries. “Right now it is very expensive to live and everything is on the rise. “I have a growing family that I have to push and this salary makes it difficult to do that. “Working conditions at Amazon are good, so I’m striking out here purely for pay. “There needs to be change and an increase in our salary to help us better support our families.” Elena Parascan, 27, of Coventry, currently makes £10.50 an hour and She works about 40 hours a week. She says she often works overtime to cover her living expenses and can work up to 60 hours a week. “I need an increase in my salary. “We need to do something about it and that’s why I’m on strike. “I stand here to fight and I came here to fight for better pay. It’s very difficult to work such long hours and I have to work overtime to support myself because I don’t have enough. “The job requires a lot of manual labor and some boxes I have to buy are 25kg, which is very heavy. “When I signed my contract they said I could only lift boxes up to 15kg but now I lift boxes that weigh 10kg more than that. “I need to get paid more for the extra weight and the work I have to do. “This is very problematic and that’s the truth.” Stuart Richards has been a senior organizer at GMB for the past five years. After working hard during the Covid pandemic, Amazon to fight for better pay The 54-year-old said: “It’s simple why we’re standing on the strike line today. These workers are a group of people who support and work with Amazon during the global pandemic. “Then last August it was small and quite humiliating. They were rewarded with a pay raise of 50 pence, and we’ve been wanting to talk to Amazon about it ever since. “We tried going the legal route to challenge Amazon, but we had no luck and we were left with no alternative but to strike.” This is a wage dispute. “We want Amazon to be able to talk to us and discuss issues and the need for change with them. “Since we know that some Amazon workers in the US make $18 an hour and workers at other warehouses in the UK are paid more than here, I think it is reasonable to increase the hourly wage to £15 an hour at the Coventry Amazon warehouse. And if they can pay people more, they should be able to do the same here.”

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