UK Amazon workers one step closer to historic union recognition 

Big win for union as government body gives green light for workplace vote on union recognition

Amazon workers in Coventry are getting closer to securing trade union recognition after having their application for a union recognition vote approved by the government body. 

Over a year of taking unprecedented industrial action has led the Amazon Coventry workforce to potentially become the first in Europe to have a recognised union at Amazon. 

Today the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC), responsible for regulating collective bargaining between workers and employers, ruled in favour of the GMB union’s application for a union recognition vote at the warehouse, meaning workers will now decide in a legally binding vote. 

Outside of the USA, no other Amazon workforce currently has union recognition, GMB said, and it would force the company to sit down with the trade union to discuss matters related to pay, hours and holiday on behalf of the Coventry workers. 

It follows accusations from the union of bosses at the delivery giant ‘bombarding’ the workforce with anti-union messages, however union membership at the warehouse has continued to grow. 

Amanda Gearing, GMB Senior Organiser, said: “From day one of GMB’s fight for union rights at Amazon it has been a modern-day David and Goliath battle.

“One year on this is a truly historic moment as workers stand up against the company’s relentless anti-union propaganda. Workers have won against the odds and will now be given a legally binding say on forming Europe’s first recognised union at Amazon.                                                                                          

 “Amazon bosses have been sent a clear and unapologetic message from their own workers that they refuse poverty pay and unsafe working condition; they demand dignity at work and a union to represent them”

Rosa Curling, Director of the CIC Foxglove, said: “Amazon is going to pull every dirty trick in the book to keep unions out of their UK warehouses – but the Coventry workers have history on their side.

 “This is a huge moment for GMB, and Amazon workers in Coventry who worked for years to earn this historic vote. Foxglove is proud to stand behind them to beat back Bezos’ union-busting – and we’ll be with them every step of the way.”

A ballot timetable for the vote is likely to be announced in the coming weeks, with the CAC arranging the legally binding vote of workers.  

(Image credit: GMB / Andy Prendergast Twitter)

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

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