Hundreds of Amazon workers are on strike in Britain. The walkout marks the first formal industrial action in the country for the U.S. tech giant. CNBC reports: The 24-hour strike action began Wednesday a minute after midnight. Strikers are expected to picket outside the company’s site in Coventry in central England throughout the day. At 6 a.m. London time, workers were pictured camping by a bonfire and waving union flags outside the Coventry site near Birmingham airport, known as BHX4. One poster behind the workers had a slogan that said “Fight for 15 pounds,” and encouraged workers to join the GMB union. Another, which was bannered across a fence, read: “The wrong Amazon is burning.”
The GMB Union, which represents the workers involved, said it expects 300 employees out of a total 1,000 at the plant to turn up to the walkout. Workers are planning to hold a larger scale demonstration from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. London time. Staff are unhappy with a pay increase of 50 pence (56 U.S. cents) per hour, equivalent to 5% and well below inflation. Amazon introduced the pay hike last summer. But warehouse workers say it fails to match the rising cost of living. They want the company to pay a minimum 15 pounds an hour. They also want better working conditions. Amazon workers have raised concerns about long working hours, high injury rates, and the unrelenting pace of work, as well as aggressive, tech-enhanced monitoring of employees. “We all saw the profits they’re making during the pandemic — that’s what angered people more,” said Darren Westwood, one of Amazon’s warehouse workers taking part in the strike. “We were expecting a better increase than what they were imposing.”
“Someone the other day said we’re treated like robots — no, robots are treated better,” Westwood told CNBC.
Further reading: Amazon To Layoff Over 18,000 Employees