Amazon protests erupt across UK as workers’ rights ballot commences

Protests are underway at Amazon warehouses across the UK as voting begins in a historic ballot for workers' rights. If successful, Amazon will be forced to recognise a union for the first time in the UK.

Protests are taking place at Amazon warehouses across the UK as voting begins in a historic workers’ rights ballot.

Demonstrations are being held in both the North and South of England, Wales, and Scotland, coinciding with workers at Amazon’s Coventry warehouse casting the first votes in their bid to force the company to recognise a union for the first time in the UK.

A separate rally outside Amazon’s London HQ will feature TUC Assistant General Secretary Kate Bell, who will join Amazon workers and supporters in a show of solidarity.

This vote in Coventry follows a three-week period during which union representatives were granted access to Amazon’s Coventry fulfilment centre by the Government’s Central Arbitration Committee. More than 3,000 workers are participating in the ballot. If a majority vote in favour, Amazon will be compelled to negotiate pay, terms, and conditions with the GMB Union.

The voting process runs until Saturday, 13 July, with results expected on 15 July. Andy Prendergast, GMB National Secretary, stated, “Workers have come together because of the poverty pay and unsafe conditions Amazon has thrust upon them. They want the same fair pay and safe conditions any of us would demand. GMB members face shocking levels of intimidation, fear, and abuse at the hands of bosses for daring to fight. Amazon has had every chance to do the right thing; now workers are taking things into their own hands to make work better.”

An Amazon spokesperson said: “Our employees have the choice of whether or not to join a union. They always have. Across Amazon, we place enormous value on having daily conversations and engagement with our employees. It’s a strong part of our work culture. We value that direct relationship and so do our employees. We regularly review our pay to ensure we offer competitive wages and benefits. Our minimum starting pay has increased to £12.30 and £13 per hour depending on location – that’s a 20% increase over two years and 50% since 2018. We also work hard to provide great benefits, a positive work environment and excellent career opportunities. These are just some of the reasons people want to come and work at Amazon, whether it’s their first job, a seasonal role or an opportunity for them to advance their career.”