Amazon workers at a depot in Coventry will go on strike over pay in the new year after voting in favour of industrial action in a historic ballot.


The ballot marks the first time that Amazon workers in the UK have voted to go on strike 

Members of the GMB union voted 98% in favour of a strike as they push for the online giant to hike their pay to £15 an hour. 

GMB members had held a similar ballot earlier this year but missed the 50% turnout threshold required. They opted to hold a second vote, which this time achieved a 63% turnout. 

The ballot marks the first time that Amazon workers in the UK have voted to go on strike. The walkout is expected to take place in January.

Amanda Gearing, a senior organiser at GMB, said: “Amazon workers in Coventry have made history – they should be applauded for their grit and determination, fighting for what’s right in the face of an appallingly hostile environment.”

Employees at the Coventry depot staged an informal walkout over the summer after being given a pay rise of 50p per hour, taking the basic rate of pay to £10.50. 

Hayley Greaves, a GMB member who works at the Coventry plant, told The Guardian: “The cost of living is going up and we’re really struggling. People are doing 60 hours a week if they can get it or, if they can’t get 60 hours, they’re doing other jobs.

“Different people are joining for different reasons. If we all join together and we stick together, we might have a fighting chance to make some changes for everyone.”

She added that the ill feeling towards Amazon’s offer of a pay rise stemmed from the fact they “worked all through Covid” and never “had any time off”. 

An Amazon spokesperson said: “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 a hour, depending on location.

“This represents a 29% increase in the minimum hourly wage paid to Amazon employees since 2018.”

They added that employees would receive an extra one-off £500 payment “as an extra thank you”.

Details of the £500 payments were revealed while the GMB’s first ballot was taking place earlier this year. The union said the move could have amounted to an unfair inducement not to strike since the second half of that payment was “dependent on no unauthorised absence between November 22 and December 24”.  

Those dates covered the period when the union members had hoped to strike if the first ballot had resulted in a yes vote.

James Schneider, communications director for Progressive International, which co-convenes the worldwide Make Amazon Pay campaign, said: “Congratulations to the Coventry workers and their union, the GMB, for standing up for themselves and their families.

“All over the world, workers are facing a sharp rise in the cost of living but Amazon is refusing to increase wages with inflation, squeezing every drop it can. Everyone knows the company has the money to do right by its workers and yet it refuses.”

  • Don’t miss the best of the week – sign up to receive the Editor’s Choice every Friday