Amazon faces historic union breakthrough in UK: government greenlights GMB union recognition

19.04.24

Commerce

Amazon

Amazon faces historic union breakthrough in UK: government greenlights GMB union recognition

UNI Global Union’s UK affiliate, GMB union, has today announced that the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC), the UK government body responsible for regulating collective bargaining between workers and employers, has ruled in favour of GMB’s application for a union recognition vote at the company’s Coventry warehouse. It means Amazon workers are one step closer to Europe’s first recognized union at the retail giant.

Mathias Bolton, UNI Global Union’s Head of Commerce said: “Today marks a watershed moment for workers’ rights at Amazon in the UK and around the world. The British government’s acceptance of the GMB’s union recognition bid in Coventry is historic step towards empowering Amazon workers to have a voice in shaping their working conditions and their lives. This victory underscores the critical role of collective action in holding corporations like Amazon accountable. To truly achieve meaningful change for workers and society, we must continue to fight for and support more union efforts like this, where workers’ voices are heard and respected.”

Amanda Gearing, GMB Senior Organiser, said:

“From day one of GMB’s fight for union rights at Amazon it has been a modern-day David and Goliath battle.

“One year on this is a truly historic moment as workers stand up against the company’s relentless anti-union propaganda.

“Workers have won against the odds and will now be given a legally binding say on forming Europe’s first recognized union at Amazon.

“Amazon bosses have been sent a clear and unapologetic message from their own workers that they refuse poverty pay and unsafe working condition; they demand dignity at work and a union to represent them”.

The development comes in the wake of massive worker mobilization spanning over a year that boosted union membership at Amazon’s Coventry facility. 

The push for unionization at Amazon UK is part of a broader global movement. In November, GMB united with international unions to stage strikes and protests on Black Friday, under the “Make Amazon Pay” banner. This global campaign co-convened by UNI Global Union underscores the widespread demand for better working conditions and fairer treatment of Amazon employees worldwide.

Representing more than 20 million workers in 150 countries, UNI Global Union is driven by the responsibility to ensure skills and service jobs are decent jobs and that workers’ rights are protected, including the right of union representation and collective bargaining.      

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