The Amazon strike in Coventry continues to escalate. Further action is taking place this week, aimed at the company’s ‘Prime Day’ sales event, with warehouse workers walking out for two hours in the morning and two hours in the evening each day from 11-13 July.
Management has done everything they can to prevent unionisation efforts at the Coventry site, as workers organise and fight for £15 per hour. These union-busting efforts, however, have only spurred on the Amazon workers and strengthened their resolve.
When the strike began in January, roughly 300 workers took the brave step of forming the first official Amazon picket in the UK. This is despite Bezos’ business being notorious for its strikebreaking and anti-union campaigning in America.
Amazon bosses were quick to stress that this represented a “small minority” of the BHX4 distribution centre’s workforce, which they declared was 1,400 in total. They asserted that the strike would not disrupt operations.
20 days standing strong.
Today on #PrimeDay Amazon workers in Coventry are on strike against a pay rise of pennies from one of the worlds wealthiest cooperation.
— GMB Midlands (@GMBMidlands) July 11, 2023
By the end of March, as union membership continued to grow, the workers succeeded in spreading the struggle to other warehouses around the Midlands, visiting Amazon sites across the UK. This includes Mansfield and Rugeley, which went on to ballot for strike action.
In June, membership at the Coventry centre surpassed 800. With over 50% of the estimated workforce unionised, GMB were able to submit a claim to be formally recognised as the union at Amazon.
Once this claim was under review by the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC), however, Amazon suddenly stated that they in fact had 2,700 employees in Coventry!
In fact, the warehouse had employed almost 1000 new workers that month, warned them against joining the union, and effectively diluted the organised workforce. Consequently, the unionisation claim had to be withdrawn, as GMB no longer met the 50% density threshold.
These kinds of dirty tactics can only succeed in a legal system designed to favour the bosses, and to prevent workers from organising.
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Unfortunately, the recent strike votes at the Mansfield and Rugeley distribution centres narrowly failed to meet the required turnout threshold. Combined with the bosses attempts to block unionisation efforts, this has hampered the Amazon workers’ struggle in the short term.
But the fight is not over by a long shot. Last month, workers at the Coventry warehouse voted for six more months of strike action. And GMB members at the Rugeley site are considering a reballot.
By spreading this strike, in Coventry and nationally, the workers can win!
- Solidarity to the Coventry workers! Victory to the strikers!
- Fight for £15 an hour! For a sliding scale of wages, with pay linked to prices!
- Spread the strike across the Amazon network!
- Expropriate Bezos and the billionaires! Put workers in control!