Amazon warehouse workers lose additional Covid pay

Amazon warehouse workers ask for the additional pay to remain as they work through the pandemic.

Amazon has scrapped the hazard pay pledged to its warehouse workers as it made billions during the pandemic.

The tech giant had initially offered an additional £2 per hour to its frontline staff to support them during the Covid-19 pandemic. But the additional payment to the key workers was ended at the end of May, despite infection and death levels still being high.

A petition led by Amazon workers and customers urged the company not to cut workers’ pay, citing the fact that they were still wearing masks and taking risks to keep the company going.

The petition text said: “You said the £2 extra was temporary pay for the pandemic, but the pandemic isn’t over.

“Everyday we still go into FCs and pack boxes for millions of customers.

“We’re still risking our lives and our families health to serve customers. Our pay should reflect this.”

The online retailer reported a revenue of $74.5billion (£56billion) in the first quarter of 2020, up 26% from the same period last year. CEO Jeff Bezos has added at least $34.6billion (£27billion) to his personal wealth, with some analysts predicting he’s on track to become the world’s first trillionaire by 2026.

Speaking on the workers’ rights campaigning platform Organise, one Amazon worker said: “The additional pay of £2 has been cut on 30 May.

“The reason was that there was no more reason to ‘appreciate’ those who have been working for time of the pandemic.”

Demand for Amazon products soared around the world as physical retailers closed during lockdown and customers self-isolated. Amazon has routinely referred to its staff as ‘heroes’ as they struggled to meet the increased workload, but declined to extend they additional pay in June.

A spokesperson from Amazon UK said: “We implemented this hourly pay increase to recognise our people’s commitment during the early days of this situation.

“Now, with lockdown restrictions easing across Europe, we are resuming with our starting wage of £9.50 per hour (or £10.50 depending on location) in the UK.

Sophia Dourou is a freelance journalist

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