Amazon staff at UK warehouse 'ready to strike' over pay, says union

LONDON, Sept 2 (Reuters) – Amazon staff at a warehouse in Coventry in central England are willing to strike over pay, a union said on Friday, in the latest labour dispute involving the U.S.e-commerce giant’s British workers.

More than 300 workers voted in a consultative ballot – where 97% said they were ready to strike – ahead of a possible formal vote on whether to carry out a strike, the GMB union said.

“Amazon workers are rightly furious and they are ready to walk out,” GMB Senior Organiser Amanda Gearing said.”They’re being offered 35p an hour during the worst cost of living crisis in a generation – and that’s from a company worth more than 1 trillion (pounds).”

Amazon, which has 70,000 workers in the UK, said its starting pay had risen to a minimum of 10.50-11.45 pounds ($12-$13) per hour – a 29% increase in the minimum hourly wage for Amazon associates since 2018.

Employees are also offered a benefits package worth “thousands of pounds annually”, a UK representative for Amazon said in a statement.

Rising costs of living have sparked a wave of industrial unrest across industries in Britain as soaring inflation outpaces pay rises.

Hundreds of Amazon workers at a warehouse in Tilbury in southeast England walked out in protest over pay last month, over a 35 pence per hour pay increase, less than the 2-pound rise sought by the GMB.($1 = 0.8657 pounds) (Reporting by Sachin Ravikumar; editing by William James)

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