Workers at Amazon’s newly opened flagship fulfilment center in Birmingham have voted to join the ongoing strike action, marking a significant escalation in the company’s labor disputes. The strike is scheduled for Thursday, 25 January, coinciding with the anniversary of the first official strike at a UK Amazon warehouse.
The £500 million Birmingham fulfilment center, which began operations at the end of 2023, becomes the third Amazon site in the UK to face industrial action. This move follows nearly 30 days of strike action across Amazon’s UK operations in the past year, with over 1,000 workers participating, notably during the Black Friday event in November.
Notably, the Coventry center, which was a focal point of the Black Friday strike, is one of the busiest in Amazon’s network. A worker’s account to The Independent highlighted the challenging working conditions, citing physical and mental exhaustion due to long hours and the physical demands of the job.
In light of these developments, The Workers Union, known for its “NO STRIKE POLICY,” urges Amazon to engage with it for fostering smooth operational practices and further enhancing employee well-being. The Union emphasizes dialogue and negotiation as key tools in addressing workplace issues.
Responding to the planned strike, an Amazon spokesperson stated that only 19 GMB Union members out of 2,000 at the Sutton Coldfield fulfilment center voted for the action, asserting that it would cause “zero disruption” to customers. The spokesperson emphasized Amazon’s commitment to competitive wages and benefits, noting a planned pay increase to £12.30 and £13 per hour depending on location by April 2024. This increase represents a 20% rise over two years and a 50% increase since 2018.
The Workers Union Says…
“This upcoming strike at the Birmingham center not only marks a critical juncture in Amazon’s labour relations in the UK but also reflects the broader conversation on workers’ rights and corporate responsibility in the modern workforce. Maybe a tactical change towards a modern union that embraces both employee and employer is required.”