Amazon warehouse workers to protest on Black Friday

Today hundreds of Amazon employees from the company’s Coventry fulfilment centre are set to protest alongside local MPs over pay and working conditions.

The protest, taking place on the same day as Black Friday, is being held in response to the e-commerce giant’s pay rate during the cost-of-living crisis.

The protest is taking place as Amazon faces a mass walk-out of workers across 40 other countries - including Japan, Australia, and the US - who are either striking or protesting to coincide with the shopping phenomenon, according to a report by The Guardian.

Currently workers at the Coventry site are paid £10.50, with GMB represented employees calling for an increase to £15 an hour to come in line with rising inflation.

“We appreciate the great work our teams do throughout the year and we’re proud to offer competitive pay which starts at a minimum of between £10.50 and £11.45 per hour, depending on location," said an Amazon spokesperson. "This represents a 29 per cent increase in the minimum hourly wage paid to Amazon employees 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."

Amazon said it is also offering full-time, part-time and seasonal frontline employees a one-time special payment of £500.

In September, it was announced that workers based at the Coventry warehouse would be the first in the UK to hold a formal strike ballot.

Hundreds of workers voted on whether to strike over the e-commerce giant's 35 pence per hour pay rise offer.

“Amazon workers in Coventry are overworked, underpaid and they’ve had enough,” said Amanda Gearing, GMB senior organiser. “They’ve been given a 50p an hour pay rise during the worst cost of living crisis in a generation – and that’s from a company worth more than £1 trillion.”

She continued: “We are here today to tell Amazon; if you want to keep your empire going, talk to GMB to improve the pay and conditions of workers.”

The worldwide protests and strikes come weeks after the company announced it was anticipating a slowdown in growth over the Christmas period, as the e-commerce giant saw 20 per cent of its value wiped in October.

The retail giant’s valuation dropped by over $200 billion – more than the entire value of companies such as The Walt Disney Company and Lockheed Martin.

Amazon has also announced that it will be cutting at least 10,000 staff, with job roles being axed into next year - marking the largest set of job cuts in its history.

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