Labour unions in Germany and the United Kingdom have announced strikes by Amazon workers in protest of pay disputes and the lack of union rights. Nearly 900 workers at an Amazon warehouse in Coventry, UK, will stage a three-day strike from 11 to 13 July, coinciding with the upcoming Prime Day sales event. The strike will occur for two hours in the morning and two hours in the evening on each of the three days, according to GMB labour union.
“We stand firmly behind the Amazon workers in the UK and Germany who are taking a stand for fair wages and better working conditions,” said Mathias Bolton, UNI Global Union’s Head of Commerce. These strikes send a powerful message to Amazon and other employers that workers will not be silent in the face of exploitative practices. We urge Amazon to engage in meaningful dialogue with the unions and address the legitimate concerns raised by its workforce.”
GMB Senior Organiser, Rachel Fagan, emphasized that the fight will only conclude when workers receive a wage of £15 (US$19.25) per hour and gain union rights. In response, Amazon stated that its minimum starting pay for employees is between £11 and £12 per hour, depending on the location. The Coventry warehouse primarily handles non-customer orders, and Amazon assured customers that there would be no disruptions to their service.
Meanwhile, in Germany, ver.di has announced strikes at an Amazon logistics centre in Winsen (Luhe) from 9 to 11 July, just before Prime Day. The union is demanding that Amazon acknowledge collective bargaining agreements for retailers and mail order companies in Lower Saxony and establish a “Good and Healthy Work” collective agreement. The strike is a response to the increased workloads and mandatory overtime that employees face during Prime Day. According to ver.di, the company has informed workers that if they refuse to work overtime on Prime Day, packages will be sent abroad, resulting in significant transportation distances.
The strikes in both countries highlight ongoing tensions between Amazon and its workers regarding pay and working conditions. These actions coincide with one of the company’s busiest sales events, which places additional strain on employees as they manage a surge in orders. The unions also emphasize the environmental responsibility of the company amidst concerns over increased transport distances due to possible workforce shortages on Prime Day.