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Workers strike at brand new £500 million Amazon warehouse

The strike is the third to take place in 12 months  (GMB Union)
The strike is the third to take place in 12 months (GMB Union)

Workers at Amazon’s brand new £500 million fulfilment centre in Birmingham are taking part in strike action today in an ongoing row over pay and working conditions.

Around 60 people braved wintry weather conditions at 6.30am to join the picket line at the Sutton Coldfield warehouse, which opened its doors at the end of 2023. Another demonstration will take place when the shifts change later in the day.

The industrial action takes place on the anniversary of the first ever official strike action at a UK Amazon warehouse.

Amazon has faced nearly 30 days of strike action in the last twelve months, with more than 1,000 workers downing tools to mark the retail giant’s Black Friday event in November last year.

Between 60 to 100 GMB union members were present (GMB Union)
Between 60 to 100 GMB union members were present (GMB Union)

Workers are fighting for improved pay of £15 per hour, better conditions, and for the retail giant to recognise its union, GMB.

Stuart Richards, a senior organiser at GMB, said workers were “angry and feel incredibly let down by Amazon”.

He added: “They are not going to be ignored anymore. They are determined to make sure that Amazon actually listens and pays them the wage they deserve.

“On the anniversary of the first ever strike at a UK Amazon warehouse, around 100 GMB Union members joined the picket line at the company’s newest site in Birmingham.

“If Amazon bosses were hoping workers would give up their fight for decent pay and a unionised workplace, today’s action has proved them wrong.

Amazon workers gather to strike against pay and working conditions (GMB Union)
Amazon workers gather to strike against pay and working conditions (GMB Union)

“These workers are going to make sure that Amazon actually listens and pays them the wage they deserve.”

Amazon said the action would not be disruptive for customers.

It said: “Just 19 GMB Union members out of our 2,000 Sutton Coldfield fulfilment centre colleagues have voted in favour of industrial action. It will cause zero disruption for our customers.

“We regularly review our pay to ensure we offer competitive wages and benefits. By April 2024, our minimum starting pay will have increased to £12.30 and £13 per hour depending on location, that’s a 20% increase over two years and 50% since 2018.

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

“These are just some of the reasons people want to come and work at Amazon, whether it’s their first job, a seasonal role or an opportunity for them to advance their career.”

During Black Friday strikes at an Amazon Coventry site which took place just weeks ago one worker told The Independent that the strikes had brought workers together but the situation for many was dire.

“Some of my colleagues are doing multiple jobs barely seeing their partners or kids,” she said.

“Amazon is one of the richest companies in the world, its founder is busy building rockets yet the people who made him that fortune are on the breadline, going to food banks, pawning items to make ends meet.”