Amazon tweaks minimum wages

Amazon has announced a minimum wage rise for its UK and US staff. In the UK this is to be £10.50 an hour for workers in the London area and £9.50 around the rest of the country. This has been greeted with a mixed response.

Effective from November this year the new wage increase is to benefit more than 17,000 UK Amazon employees as well as the 20,000 temporary staff working through the peak season. According to the company they will also continue to receive private medical insurance, life assurance, income protection as well as the Amazon pension plan.

“We’re excited to announce Amazon is raising our minimum wage for all full-time, part-time, seasonal, and temporary UK employees—effective November 1,” said Amazon VP and UK country manager Doug Gurr. “This will impact more than 37,000 employees across the country, resulting in higher pay for them and their families.”

Trade unions in the US and UK weren’t that impressed. UK TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Amazon is a trillion-dollar company. It can easily afford to pay staff higher wages.

“If Amazon is really serious about looking after its workforce it must recognise trade unions. And it must end the exploitative working practices that have seen hundreds of ambulances called to its UK warehouses.

“All workers deserve decent conditions at work – not surveillance, inhuman targets and the threat of a disciplinary if they to go to the toilet.

“Today’s announcement is the result of campaigning by the GMB and unions around the world. It’s only a start and shouldn’t be spun as a huge act of generosity.”