The union balloted workers in December after they claimed to have received a ‘pathetic’ 50p-an-hour pay rise offer from the firm which made £204m profit in the 2021.
Amazon has said it offers ‘competitive pay’ and that only a ‘tiny proportion’ of its UK workforce is involved in the strike with deliveries not being affected.
Workers at the Amazon warehouse in Coventry have gone on strike today in a dispute over pay
Members of the GMB union stand outside the Amazon fulfilment centre in Coventry this morning
It is the first time the company’s workers have held industrial action in the UK, following on from similar strikes in the Unites States and Germany.
It comes after Royal Mail staff also went on strike in festive period, causing chaos to people ordering presents and sending Christmas cards to loved ones.
Speaking ahead of Wednesday’s walkout, Stuart Richards, GMB senior organiser, said: ‘Today, Amazon workers in Coventry will make history.
‘They’ve defied the odds to become the first ever Amazon workers in the UK to go on strike.
‘They’re taking on one of the world’s biggest companies to fight for a decent standard of living. They should be rightly proud of themselves.’
A member of the GMB union stands on the picket line outside the Amazon warehouse in Coventry this morning
Members of the union speak to staff as they try to convince them not to cross the line and to go into work
Workers set up a fire in a drum at the picket line as they protest and demand a pay rise amid freezing conditions this morning
‘After six months of ignoring all requests to listen to workers’ concerns, GMB urges Amazon UK bosses to do the right thing and give workers a proper pay rise.’
At its ballot in December, hundreds of union members overwhelmingly voted for strike action after protests took place at Amazon warehouses in Coventry, Tilbury, Essex, Bristol, Rugeley and Staffordshire.
Amazon, which refuses to recognise the GMB, claims its minimum wage for workers has increased by 29 per cent since 2018.
A spokesperson said: ‘A tiny proportion of our workforce are involved.
‘In fact, according to the verified figures, only a fraction of 1% of our UK employees voted in the ballot – and that includes those who voted against industrial action.
‘We appreciate the great work our teams do throughout the year and we’re proud to offer competitive pay which starts at a minimum of between £10.50 and £11.45 per hour, depending on location.
‘This represents a 29% increase in the minimum hourly wage paid to Amazon employees since 2018.
‘Employees are also offered comprehensive benefits that are worth thousands more – including private medical insurance, life assurance, subsidised meals and an employee discount, to name a few.’