Amazon’s labour unrest intensifies: Birmingham workers to strike on anniversary of UK’s first Amazon protest

Amazon’s labour unrest intensifies: Birmingham workers to strike on anniversary of UK’s first Amazon protest

Amazon workers who toil at the company’s newest flagship warehouse in Birmingham, UK are set to walk off the job on Thursday, January 25, marking the anniversary of the first Amazon strike in the UK. This site will become the third Amazon location in the UK to take strike action.

Amazon has confronted significant labour unrest across the country and around the world — 30 days of strikes last year alone just in the UK. Over the Black Friday-Cyber Monday weekend, the busiest shopping days of the year, Amazon also faced strikes and protests in over 30 countries around the world on a massive day of action coordinated by UNI Global Union and the Make Amazon Pay campaign. Thousands of workers participated in a strike in the UK, Germany, the United States, Italy and Spain.

“The actions of Amazon workers in the UK are echoed worldwide. This is not an isolated issue but a global call for fair treatment and respect in the workplace. The solidarity among Amazon employees across borders is a powerful message that workers’ rights and dignified working conditions are universal demands,” said Mathias Bolton, Head of Commerce for UNI Global Union. UNI coordinates the Amazon Global Union Alliance, which brings together unions from dozens of countries to make the company respect workers’ right to organize and collectively bargain.

This latest wave of UK strikes and global actions reflect the widespread criticism of Amazon’s corporate practices. According to a comprehensive 2023 UNI Global Union survey, Amazon’s intense performance monitoring has inflicted stress, pressure, anxiety, and a sense of mistrust among its employees across eight key countries. The survey reveals alarming statistics: 51 per cent of employees report adverse health effects, and 57 per cent cite deteriorating mental health due to Amazon’s intrusive monitoring. This has led to increasing scrutiny from lawmakers and the public investigating the company’s “abysmal safety record.”

“The industrial chaos Amazon faces isn’t going to disappear; it’s growing every day. “We’re just weeks into the new year but are already seeing the strike action spread to new Amazon workplaces. “For workers to down tools at Amazon’s new Birmingham HQ, just weeks after it opened its doors, goes to show how furious Amazon workers in the UK are. “One year on from the first strike day the message from GMB members at Amazon is the same; recognise our union and end poverty pay,” said Rachel Fagan, GMB Organizer.

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