Amazon workers at UK warehouse strike again

COVENTRY, England (Reuters) – More than 1,000 workers at an Amazon warehouse in central England were striking on Tuesday as part of a long-running dispute over pay, the GMB trade union said.

The workers, who walked out of the U.S. retail giant’s site in Coventry, also plan to strike on Wednesday and Thursday, as well as Nov. 24, which is Black Friday and a key date in Amazon’s calendar.

Workers at the Coventry site first went on strike in January.

The latest action comes at the back end of a year that has seen wider industrial unrest in the UK as employees demand better wage rises to deal with high inflation.

“We offer competitive pay, comprehensive benefits, opportunities for career growth, all while working in a safe, modern, work environment,” Amazon said in a statement.

“At Amazon, these benefits and opportunities come with the job, as does the ability to communicate directly with the leadership of the company.”

Amazon, which employs 75,000 in the UK, said last month that from Oct. 15, minimum starting pay would increase by at least one pound an hour to between 11.80 pounds and 12.50 pounds, depending on location.

Pay rates will further increase to between 12.30 pounds and 13 pounds an hour from April next year.

Amazon said the increases would cost it 170 million pounds ($209 million) and mean its minimum starting pay will have risen by 20% in two years, and 50% since 2018.

Britain’s government mandated minimum wage is 10.42 pounds an hour for people 23 and over.

Amazon has been feeling the pinch of unionisation efforts globally. Last year, workers at an Amazon warehouse in New York City voted to form the first union at the company.

($1 = 0.8118 pounds)

(Reporting by Carl Recine, writing by James Davey; editing by Sarah Young)