Amazon workers staging the company’s first-ever UK strike are “determined to win” as they ask for better pay and working conditions, while GMB figures suggest strike action and refusal to negotiate is set to cost the company more than £2m.

Amazon warehouse worker

Union members plan to strike for five days later in the month

Over 350 workers walked out and joined the picket line outside the Amazon BHX4 depot in Coventry on this week and the mood among members was “high”, according to a spokesman for the GMB.

Workers are receiving continued support from the local community and colleagues around the world have been sending messages in solidarity, the union said. GMB said its strike fund has also received donations.

GMB regional organiser Finbar Bowie told Retail Week: “One of the world’s wealthiest corporations is being taken on by a group of low-paid workers from the West Midlands. It’s a big contrast of power and you can’t help but see the David and Goliath angle to it.

“The workers are boiled up and absolutely determined to win this as they’ve got clear demands. We’re asking Amazon to talk pay and that’s the bottom line.”

He added that Amazon does not recognise the union or “necessarily engage with the specific points we ask of them”. Striking workers are yet to hear from the employer regarding a deal.

With a five-day strike brewing later this month, Bowie said: “This is an escalation to show we’re serious about delivering this and we’re serious about winning.

“We are a member-led union and these Amazon workers make the decisions about how they strike and the impact of it.”

An Amazon spokesperson said: “A tiny proportion of our workforce is involved. In fact, according to the verified figures, only a fraction of 1% of our UK employees voted in the ballot and that includes those who voted against industrial action.

“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 per hour, depending on location. This represents a 29% increase in the minimum hourly wage paid to Amazon employees since 2018.

“Employees are also offered comprehensive benefits that are worth thousands more including private medical insurance, life assurance, subsidised meals and an employee discount, to name a few.”

The strikes are set to continue on March 2 and for five consecutive days between March 13 and 17.