Amazon workers set for vote on joining a trade union

Online giant Amazon could recognise a trade union in the UK for the first time after a ballot is to start on Monday.

Workers at the company’s Coventry site will start voting on whether they want the GMB union to represent them.

Firstly, 40 per cent of employees must vote, whether they are union members or not. If this threshold is not met, the ballot fails. Then if the 40 per cent threshold is met, it is a straight majority of the vote that decides the outcome.

Amazon maintains that its employees have always had the choice of joining a union.

The GMB will stage protests at Amazon warehouses across the UK as voting begins and a rally will also be held outside Amazon’s London head office.

The union said more than 3,000 workers will take part in the ballot, with the result expected in mid-July.

Members of the GMB union on the picket line stand in front of a freight lorry outside the Amazon fulfilment centre in Coventry (Jacob King/PA) (PA Archive)
Members of the GMB union on the picket line stand in front of a freight lorry outside the Amazon fulfilment centre in Coventry (Jacob King/PA) (PA Archive)

GMB national officer Andy Prendergast said: “Workers have come together because of the poverty pay and unsafe conditions Amazon has thrust upon them.

“They want the same fair pay and safe conditions any of us would demand.

“Amazon has had every chance to do the right thing – now workers are taking things into their own hands to make work better.”

An Amazon spokesperson said: “Our employees have the choice of whether or not to join a union. They always have. Across Amazon, we place enormous value on having daily conversations and engagement with our employees. It’s a strong part of our work culture. We value that direct relationship and so do our employees.

“We regularly review our pay to ensure we offer competitive wages and benefits. Our minimum starting pay has increased to £12.30 and £13 per hour depending on location – that’s a 20 per cent increase over two years and 50 per cent since 2018. We also work hard to provide great benefits, a positive work environment and excellent career opportunities.

“These are just some of the reasons people want to come and work at Amazon, whether it’s their first job, a seasonal role or an opportunity for them to advance their career.”