Striking Amazon workers say they have ‘nothing to lose’

Amazon workers staging their first ever strike within the UK in a dispute over pay have “nothing to lose”, a union has mentioned.

Members of the GMB union on the firm’s fulfilment centre in Coventry voted to stroll out at this time in protest at a pay rise the union mentioned is value 50p (50c) an hour.

GMB senior organiser Stuart Richards mentioned: “Today, Amazon workers in Coventry will make historical past.

“They’ve defied the chances to turn into the primary ever Amazon workers within the UK to go on strike.

“They’re taking up one of many world’s largest firms to struggle for a good lifestyle.

“They ought to be rightly happy with themselves.

“After six months of ignoring all requests to listen to workers’ concerns, GMB urges Amazon UK bosses to do the right thing and give workers a proper pay rise.”

Amanda Gearing, additionally a GMB senior organiser, talking from the picket line, mentioned: “We’re here today because Amazon workers have said they’ve had enough.”

She mentioned workers who labored by means of robust situations in the course of the pandemic are simply “trying to get decent pay”.

“They (the centres) are pressure-cooker environments they work in, with the targets they’re expected to reach,” she added.

“They (Amazon) just wear them out, get rid of them, replace them.”

Ms Gearing added: “After all that, they have simply supplied a 50p pay improve within the largest cost-of-living disaster that we have had in many years.

“I think, when the workers have got nothing to lose, you see them coming out fighting.”

She mentioned the placing workers are “not militant” and “need a job”, including: “Like I say, they’ve put up with the conditions in those centres for a long time.”

“In one of the fulfilment centres, we were having people urinating in a bottle because they didn’t want to take the time out and go to the toilet because it becomes idle time,” GMB union mentioned.

“Coventry has been open four years, we’ve had issues since it was open. Rugeley (Staffordshire) before that – they’re just horrendous places to work,” she claimed.

She mentioned the principle problem for workers is what she mentioned are target-led efficiency measures, set by an “algorithm”.

“So, think about turning up to work not figuring out in the event you’re going to make the grade.

“If you don’t (hit targets) you end up in a disciplinary, so they’re just having to work, work, work, they’re not allowed to talk to people, it’s difficult to take a toilet break,” she claimed.

“In one of many different fulfilment centres, we had been having folks urinating in a bottle as a result of they did not need to take the trip and go to the bathroom as a result of it turns into idle time.

“We’ve acquired accidents, we have got extra ambulances coming to (this) website, than some other warehouses throughout the nation, they’ve simply acquired an appalling report when it comes to well being and security.

“I think we’ve been lucky there’s been no fatalities within those centres, up to now.”

Ms Gearing mentioned she is “hoping Amazon will get round the table”, whereas including “I don’t anticipate they’ll be giving me a call anytime soon”.

An Amazon spokesman mentioned: “A tiny proportion of our workforce are concerned.

“In reality, in accordance to the verified figures, solely a fraction of 1% of our UK workers voted within the poll – and that features those that voted in opposition to industrial motion.

“We respect the nice work our groups do all year long and we’re proud to supply aggressive pay which begins at a minimal of between £10.50 (€11.88) and £11.45 (€12.95) per hour, relying on location.

“This represents a 29% improve within the minimal hourly wage paid to Amazon workers since 2018.

“Employees are also offered comprehensive benefits that are worth thousands more – including private medical insurance, life assurance, subsidised meals and an employee discount, to name a few.”

based mostly on website supplies www.rte.ie

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