Walk-outs in protest of a ‘pathetic’ 35p-per-hour pay rise have now spread to four Amazon warehouses

Workers at four Amazon facilities are already participating in walk-outs in opposition to a “pathetic” 35p-per-hour pay increase, and they claim that the unplanned action has already hampered customer shipping.

GMB Regional Organiser Steve Garelick told MailOnline that demonstrations took place reorganizer Rugeley, Staffordshire; Tilbury, Essex; Coventry; and Bristol.

Social media posts and videos depict warehouse workers refusing to work and sitting in the cafeteria after receiving a wage increase that the union GMB called “pathetic.”

According to a Rugeley site employee, “a lot of client shipments” were impacted by the walk-out.

As Brits struggle to keep up with the rising cost of food and other necessities, the cost-of-living problem and soaring inflation have spurred a summer of strikes that look poised to continue into the autumn. Yesterday, interest rates were also raised to a new high of 1.75 percent.

According to GMB, employees wanted a salary increase of £2 per hour to “better fit the demands of the profession and cope with the cost-of-living problem.”

The workers have now been informed that the company will get back to them in seven days with a “additional proposition,” according to Mr. Garelick, who was present at the canteen sit-in in Tilbury last night. He claimed the former General Manager tried to “suppress” opposition.

Jeff Bezos’ billionaire company, Amazon, has come under fire from workers in a number of nations for its low pay and what they claim to be subpar working conditions in several of its factories and warehouses.

The American digital and retail behemoth, whose UK sales last year exceeded £23 billion, first infuriated workers at the Tilbury plant when it announced in an email to staff that the basic hourly rate will rise from £11.10 to £11.45.

‘The walk-outs have snowballed because people had enough,’ Mr. Garelick told MailOnline.

‘It is about the behaviours towards staff.

‘If you hear how the manager speaks to people you will know that frankly if you were spoken to like that you would feel patronised.

‘I believe there were four sites yesterday and allegedly there was a concern from within Amazon that this might spread worldwide.

‘Amazon are trying to quell this as best they can. They are using very unusual tactics.

‘They have had security guards watching what people are doing with their mobile devices. People are sharing information on social media and if they are not able to do that it makes it very hard to motivate people.’

Additionally, he said that the staff canteen had ceased to be a food source, prompting employees to acquire meals through Uber Eats and Deliveroo in order to keep the sit-in going all night.

A 24-year-old packer claimed he participated in the Tilbury sit-in protest because he disagrees that he should have to work six days a week to pay his rent and “live a normal life.”

According to Marius Brezeanu, who was speaking to the BBC, “I have been eating just one meal a day [to save money]” for a few months.

Everyone is still inspired to protest, so we will keep doing so.

The starting wage for Amazon employees will rise to a minimum of between £10.50 and £11.45 per hour, depending on region, an Amazon representative said.

‘This is for all full-time, part-time, seasonal, and temporary roles in the UK.

‘In addition to this competitive pay, employees are offered a comprehensive benefits package that includes private medical insurance, life assurance, income protection, subsidised meals and an employee discount among others, which combined are worth thousands annually, as well as a company pension plan.’

The spokesman stated that the minimum hourly rate paid to Amazon associates in the UK has increased by 29% since 2018, and that the wages offered to warehouse staff are significantly higher than both the Real Living Wage and the current national minimum wage, which is currently £9.50 per hour or £11.05 in London.

When asked about how walk-outs would affect deliveries, the spokesman responded, “The network is enormous therefore we have not been made aware of any delays.”

A public statement signed by Amazon drivers and warehouse employees last month urged the online retailer to cease making them work at a “inhumane pace.”

The employees begged the firm to “bin unjust targets” and stop the “continuous surveillance” under greater pressure as Prime Day approached.

Working in an Amazon warehouse today is so stressful, they claimed. Even the instruments we employ, such as scanners, keep tabs on us.

“We’re constantly concerned with the amount of time we have left to pick up a package.” We are unable to determine if our employment will ever be safe because we are unable to see all of the targets you monitor. Despite our best efforts, it exhausts everyone.

Nine out of 10 UK consumers use Amazon, which has seen its sales in the country increase from £3 billion to about £27 billion in the last ten years.

According to Forbes, it currently employs more than a million people worldwide and about 33,000 individuals in its warehouse and logistics workforce.

With more than half (55%) of consumers admitting that Amazon was crucial during the lockdowns in 2020, the pandemic has only served to accelerate the growth of online commerce.

However, employees have said that the pressure to meet these goals has made them feel like “slaves” and “robots.”

Ambulances had reportedly been dispatched to the company’s “fulfillment centers” about 1,000 times since 2018 — including 178 callouts to the Tilbury location.