Amazon workers go on STRIKE for first time ever after being offered a 50p an hour pay rise
Workers say the 50p pay rise offer is ‘a smack in the mouth’
Amazon workers are staging their first ever UK strike against the online retailer giant over a pay dispute.
Employees were left outraged when the firm offered what they called a "derisory" 50p an hour pay rise.
Members of the GMB union, who are walking out at Amazon’s Coventry warehouse, say the robots in the warehouse “are treated better than us” and demand to be paid £15 per hour.
Workers claim “severe conditions” mean they are constantly monitored and upbraided for "idle time" lasting just a few minutes.
Stuart Richards, senior organiser at GMB told GB News: “Our Amazon workers here have their own branch, which encompasses lots of different Amazon warehouses, lots of different workers from those warehouses.
“And we're seeing a huge amount of interest from those workers in what's happening here. Those workers have the same issues, they have the same shared unhappiness about the fact that they have been paid really incredibly badly by a multi-million pound profit making company.
“So we think that it's likely that these disputes are going to spread if Amazon doesn't talk to us.”
Employees Darren Westwood and Garfield Hilton, who are members of GMB, explained how even a trip to the toilet can lead to questions by managers.
"The thing with stopping work is that they want to know why," Hilton told the BBC.
"So if the time is beyond a couple of minutes they can see it on the system."
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Hilton, who has diabetes, said sometimes it’s not possible to find toilets close by in the building and can take up to 15 minutes to locate one and then return.
"They will then question you, 'what were you doing?” says Hilton.
But Amazon said it has a system "that recognises great performance".
The workers also say working conditions are taking a toll on their colleagues, with some working 60-hour weeks to keep up with the cost of living.
In August, Amazon offered workers a 50p per hour pay rise, but Westwood says the increase was “a smack in the mouth”.
The online retailer said the 50p increase marked a 29 per cent increase in the minimum hourly wage paid to Amazon employees since 2018.
Hilton added: "We just want to be able to live. I just want to be able to pay my bills at the end of the week. That's all we're asking for."
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