UK Amazon workers balloted on union recognition

GMB members strike at Amazon in Coventry
Workers at Amazon in Coventry will be balloted over union recognition [PA Media]

A ballot process that could see Amazon recognise a trade union in the UK for the first time is to begin.

GMB union officials were due to enter the trading giant's Coventry fulfilment site for the first time on Wednesday, where they were set to hold meetings with the 3,000 workers to try to win their vote.

Workers will ultimately vote on whether they want a union to represent them with GMB needing 40% of them to vote in their favour.

Amazon said employees have always had the choice of joining a union and that it placed “enormous” value on engagement with its employees.

If the union succeeds, it would mean the company will have to negotiate with the union on terms, pay and conditions for workers at the site.

Amazon will also ask staff to attend meetings to hear the company's counter argument.

Ballot papers will be sent out on 3 July with workplace voting starting on 8 July, lasting for six days.

GMB said the result of the ballot would be announced on 15 July.

The process will be overseen by the Government's Central Arbitration Committee.

Amanda Gearing, GMB senior organiser, said it was a historic moment.

“They [Amazon] are a multi-billion-pound global company investing huge energy to resist efforts by working class people in Coventry to fight for a better life."

Workers had stood up to be counted and demanded the chance to vote for union recognition, she said.

GMB first began its campaign for recognition 18 months ago and has been involved in a lengthy dispute with Amazon, which has seen more than 30 days of strike action.

A spokesperson for Amazon said: “Our employees have the choice of whether or not to join a union. They always have.

“Across Amazon we place enormous value on having daily conversations and engagement with our employees. It’s a strong part of our work culture. We value that direct relationship and so do our employees.”

It said minimum starting pay has gone up to £12.30 and £13 per hour depending on location.

"We also work hard to provide great benefits, a positive work environment and excellent career opportunities," it added.

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