UK Amazon workers could form ‘Europe’s first’ recognised union after ruling

Workers at Amazon’s Coventry warehouse are closer to gaining union recognition after the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) ruled in favour of the GMB’s application for a vote.

The CAC, the government body responsible for regulating collective bargaining between workers and employers, said that following a year of industrial action it is likely that the majority of workers want recognition of GMB as its union.

GMB said that union recognition would for the first time force Amazon to discuss matters including pay, hours and holidays with a trade union in Europe. The move would also mark the first time this has been achieved anywhere in the world outside the US.

Following the decision, the CAC will now appoint an independent organisation to arrange a legally binding vote of workers, with a ballot timetable likely to be announced in the coming weeks.

Workers at Amazon have held a number of strikes over the past year at Amazon’s distribution centres including Birmingham and Coventry to ask for increased pay and better working conditions.

Amanda Gearing, GMB senior organiser, said: the organisation’s fight for union rights had been a “David and Goliath battle.”

“One year on this is a truly historic moment as workers stand up against the company’s relentless anti-union propaganda,” she added. “Workers have won against the odds and will now be given a legally binding say on forming Europe’s first recognised union at Amazon.

“Amazon bosses have been sent a clear and unapologetic message from their own workers that they refuse poverty pay and unsafe working condition; they demand dignity at work and a union to represent them.”

Retail Systems has reached out to Amazon for comment.

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