Hundreds of Amazon employees have stopped work at the online retailer’s warehouse in Tilbury in Essex in response to a pay rise of only 35p – about 3% – compared with inflation that is expected to hit 13% later this year.
The GMB union said about 700 of the roughly 3,500 employees at the site, which is one of Amazon’s largest in Europe, gathered in the facility’s canteen for a meeting as they tried to register a protest against the pay deal.
It is understood workers at the facility earn a minimum of £11.10 an hour with those employed for at least three years on a minimum of £11.35. They are calling for a £2-an-hour raise but both groups are being offered the 35p deal.
One worker inside the warehouse posted a video in which they accused Amazon of treating them “like slaves”. “See people what’s going on,” the post on TikTok said. “Keep fight for us and our family”.
Steve Garelick, a regional organiser at GMB, said some workers had faced disciplinary action and a withdrawal of pay over the stoppage that began on Wednesday night and continued into Thursday.
“Amazon have removed pay from hundreds of workers at Tilbury Essex as well as scouring social media to see who is uploading videos. Instead of disciplinary procedures because of reputation, Amazon should sort their reputation with staff. Pay a decent increase not 35p,” he tweeted.
Amazon does not recognise trade unions in its UK warehouses but GMB said it would support members on site who had faced disciplinary procedures.
Amazon said in a statement: “Starting pay for Amazon employees will be increasing to a minimum of between £10.50 and £11.45 per hour, depending on location. This is for all full-time, part-time, seasonal, and temporary roles in the UK.
“In addition to this competitive pay, employees are offered a comprehensive benefits package that includes private medical insurance, life assurance, income protection, subsidised meals and an employee discount among others, which combined are worth thousands annually, as well as a company pension plan.”