More than 700 Amazon warehouse workers in England held a protest over salary disputes.

This is the latest sign of workplace conflict fueled by Britain’s cost-of-living crisis and rising employee dissatisfaction with salaries and working conditions.

The trade union GMB said employees at the facility in Tilbury, Essex, east of London, stopped working after Amazon promised to boost wages by 35 pence (42 cents) an hour.

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The union said workers seek a hike of 2 pounds to better fit the demands of their job and keep up with rising inflation.

Amazon does not recognize the union, which has one of the most members at the Tilbury facility out of Amazon’s 28 UK warehouses.

Steve Garelick, the GMB union’s regional organizer for logistics and gig economy said: “Amazon is one of the most profitable companies on the planet. With household costs spiraling, the least they can do is offer decent pay.”

Garelick posted videos on Twitter of workers sitting at tables, claiming that they represented a “withdrawal of labour” at the Tilbury facility.

He said Amazon’s “repeated use of short-term contracts” is “intended to erode workers’ rights.”

Amazon claimed that warehouse employee wages in the UK will climb to between 10.50 and 11.45 pounds per hour, which it described as “competitive pay.” However, it’s dependent on location.

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The firm said employees receive a comprehensive benefits package including private health insurance, life insurance, subsidized meals, employee discounts that are “worth thousands annually,” and a company pension plan.

Similar protests have taken occurred in the US, notably in March, when more than 60 workers in New York and Maryland walked out of work to demand a $3 hike and a return to the 20-minute breaks set by the company during the pandemic.

Last year, Amazon increased its average hourly salary to $18.

The Amazon Labor Union, a nascent organization with former and present Amazon employees, won its union election in Staten Island, New York, partially on the promise of raising pay to $30 per hour.

But reaching even close to that will undoubtedly be difficult.

Amazon is attempting to overturn the union’s April victory by asking the National Labor Relations Board for a new election.

Source: The Washington Post

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