Amazon increases starting pay for UK workers, but union slams ‘pay rise of pennies’
GMB union, which represents Amazon workers in Coventry, says Amazon's offer is "an insult" - and is calling for pay to rise to £15 per hour
24 March 2023
Amazon is set to increase wages for its UK workers once more as it struggles to recruit during a labour shortage.
From April, the online shopping giant said its minimum starting wage will rise by up to 50p to between £11 and £12 an hour, depending on location.
The latest announcement comes a week after Amazon staff in Coventry went on strike demanding higher wages.
Companies such as Costa Coffee and Tesco have also increased pay recently as they battle to attract staff.
According to Amazon, its latest pay rise means starting wages had gone up by 10% in the last seven months.
The increase comes at a time when the national living wage also rises for over-23s – climbing by 9.7% to £10.42 per hour.
However, the GMB union, which represents Amazon workers in Coventry, says Amazon’s offer is “an insult” – and it wants pay to rise to £15 per hour.
Senior GMB organiser Amanda Gearing said that in response to Amazon’s announcement, the union “will be consulting over the next few days and announcing a new wave of action”.
BBC News reports Amazon has been trying to balance keeping pay competitive and cost-cutting measures. Indeed, earlier this week, the online giant said it would cut another 9,000 jobs, after announcing 18,000 job cuts in January.
A press statement issued by GMB Union outlined its grievances, noting: “In the wake of historical strike action at the company’s Coventry fulfilment centre in the Midlands, Amazon have today presented workers with a pay rise averaging between just 1.8 and 2.5%.
“With inflation rising and and RPI hitting over 12% earlier this year, GMB members have called on the company to urgently sit down and talk pay with their union.”
“Is this really what Amazon think’s we’re worth?” asked Darren Westwood, Amazon worker and GMB member in Coventry.
“This is another pay rise of pennies, from one of the world’s wealthiest companies.
“Three months ago Amazon told us there was no money left for pay rises, yet through pressure, campaigning and strike action we’ve forced one of the world’s wealthiest companies to sit up and take notice,” said Westwood, who is adamant that “Amazon workers won’t back down until we’ve won the pay recognition we deserve”.
“News today that company top brass have dug deep to find an extra 20 to 50 pence for staff will come as little reassurance to Amazon workers worldwide struggling to make ends meet and pay the bills,” added Amanda Gearing, GMB senior organiser.
“GMB members at Amazon Coventry are clear on their demands; £15 an hour and Amazon to sit down and talk pay with their workers union,” she continued.
“That is why they have been on strike and that is why GMB members will continue to fight for fair pay.”