Amazon warehouse workers walk out in first UK strike
London CNN —Amazon workers at a warehouse in central England went on strike Wednesday, the first time employees of the US tech giant have walked out in the country.
The price of food and energy has surged in the United Kingdom, pushing consumer prices up 10.5% in the 12 months to December.
That’s unleashed the biggest wave of industrial action in the country in decades as workers across the economy see their living standards plunge.
The average UK wage this year is set to drop to 2006 levels once inflation is taken into account.
Amazon’s pay increase lifted the hourly rate for workers at Coventry to £10.50 ($12.92).
Workers are asking for £15 ($18.49) an hour, which the GMB union said would be in line with pay at Amazon in the United States.
Starting pay for warehouse workers in the United States averages over $19 an hour after the company’s latest raise in September.
The strike comes as employees in the United States continue to organize and push for collective bargaining rights.
Amazon employees at a warehouse in Staten Island, New York, made history last year when they voted to form the first-ever labor union at one of the company’s US facilities.
Amazon has refused to formally recognize or bargain with the Amazon Labor Union, which was recently certified by regulators.
Amazon, like other large tech companies, has been trying to reduce its labor costs, pointing to the darkening global economic outlook.
“Companies that last a long time go through different phases,” CEO Andy Jassy said in a memo to workers.