Employees at Amazon at a large warehouse located in the UK reported about unionization.
GMB has officially applied for union recognition on behalf of its members at a distribution center in Coventry, in the English West Midlands. If this application is approved, the British community of employees will become the first local group of workers with the authority to negotiate with the American retail giant.
Amazon workers in Coventry have already gone on strike. They are not satisfied with the fact that the amount of salary increase approved by the company’s management is below the inflation rate in the UK. Employees of two other British warehouses of one of the world’s largest retailers are currently voting on strikes. The results will be known in June.
Workers from Coventry, if approved for the creation of a trade union organization, will improve their negotiating positions because will have a higher legal status. They will be able to negotiate directly with Amazon management about a salary increase.
A similar situation is currently also observed in the United States. Here, Amazon is trying to counteract attempts to unionize. In 2022, employees of the New York Fulfillment Center achieved a positive result in the fight for their rights, but this is a rare case that does not coincide with the average results of such efforts.
Amanda Gearing, GMB’s senior organizer, said the company had responded with a categorical rejection of proposals for wage negotiations. This circumstance intensified efforts to obtain the official status of a trade union organization by the association of workers. More than 700 employees in Coventry were GMB members. This means that the threshold of 51% of the workers involved required to obtain union status has been overcome. There are currently about 75,000 Amazon employees in the UK.
GMB started the process by contacting the Central Arbitration Committee, the official judicial body that deals with workplace disputes. This process can go on for months, including the time it takes Amazon to challenge the application.
Blair Adams, a partner at Winckworth Sherwood LLP, specializing in labor law, says that for the retailer, communication with British employees will end not with a compromise solution to the situation, but with victory or defeat.
As we have reported earlier, Amazon Pays Customers for Pickup to Cut Delivery Costs.