Workers at a recently opened Amazon warehouse in Sutton Coldfield have walked out in protest of low wages.

Around 60 members of the GMB union, representing a smaller portion of the 2,000-strong workforce, joined the picket line on Thursday (25 January) morning.

The union claims that despite Amazon’s recent wage increases, starting salaries remain insufficient for the rising cost of living and the physically demanding nature of the job. They are demanding £15 per hour.

Amazon had “refused” to increase pay when the cost of living crisis began, said GMB organiser Amanda Gearing.

Subsequent pay increases had been “too little, too late,” and had only happened as a result of union action, she added.

Amazon, however, maintains that its wages are competitive, with a minimum starting pay set to rise to £12.30 or £13 per hour depending on location by April. This represents a 20% increase over two years and 50% since 2018, according to the retailer.

About 60 GMB members joined the picket line at the Amazon warehouse in Sutton Coldfield on ThursdayGMB
About 60 GMB members joined the picket line at the Amazon warehouse in Sutton Coldfield on Thursday

The action comes on the anniversary of the first official strike at an Amazon UK warehouse, said the trade union, with Amazon workers vote for six more months of strikes, according to the union.

“Amazon workers have already taken nearly 30 days of industrial action in their fight for £15 and union rights,” a statement on the GMB website read.

“Over 1000 Amazon workers are expected to join the upcoming action with strike dates set to be announced in the coming weeks.”

Rachel Fagan, GMB Organiser, said: “GMB members at Amazon have faced a year of struggle against an employer determined to stop their union.

“Amazon bosses will be hoping the industrial chaos will disappear; but instead it’s growing every day.

“For workers to down tools at Amazon’s new Birmingham HQ, just weeks after it opened it’s doors, goes to show how furious Amazon workers in the UK are.

“One year on from the first strike day the message from GMB members at Amazon is the same; recognise GMB and end poverty pay”.

Last year, strike action took place at an Amazon warehouse in Coventry on 8 and 9 November, as well as Black Friday on 24 November.

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