‘Winter of strike chaos’: New Amazon warehouse in Birmingham votes to join strikes

"Industrial relations at Amazon UK is in chaos”

Just weeks after opening, a new Amazon warehouse in Birmingham has voted to join ongoing strike action, leading GMB union to warn of ‘winter strike chaos’ for Amazon.

The Amazon Minworth fulfilment centre opened in October, and within weeks 100% of the workers there voted for industrial action, the union has announced today. They will join in what has been dubbed the David and Goliath fight by Amazon staff for a £15 hourly wage, union recognition and improved working conditions.

Amanda Gearing, GMB Organiser said Amazon is set to face a “winter of strike chaos” with the growth of industrial action posing a greater problem for the delivery giant in the UK.

Staff at the Amazon warehouse in Coventry have already made history in becoming the first UK Amazon site to strike, and have taken part in 28-days of strike action this year so far.

“Company bosses are hoping they can bury their head in the sand; but the truth is industrial relations at Amazon UK is in chaos,” said Gearing.

“Amazon Minworth opened its doors just weeks ago and workers have already voted to join strike action. Our members feel betrayed by a company that is letting low pay and unsafe working conditions become the new normal.

“After Black Friday strikes last week, we’re seeing industrial action snowballing and Amazon is surely set to face a winter of strike chaos.”

On Black Friday, more than 1,000 Amazon workers in Coventry walked out. The annual discount shopping day also saw protest movement and strikes in over 30 countries, as part of an international movement calling for better labour practices at the delivery company.

It marked the biggest day of industrial action in Amazon’s 30-year history with workers at the West Midlands site joined by Amazon staff from Italy, Germany and the United States.

MPs including Diane Abbott and Coventry South’s Zarah Sultana joined the Black Friday strikes. With Sultana addressing worker; “I will stand with you in solidarity both in parliament and on the picket line until Amazon pays and you get what you deserve.”

While workers from other countries spoke of their own struggles to fight for better conditions and pay in their Amazon workplaces.  

New strike dates are set to be announced in coming weeks.

(Image credit: Channel 4 News / YouTube Screenshot)

Hannah Davenport is news reporter at Left Foot Forward, focusing on trade unions and environmental issues

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