Hundreds of Amazon Bristol workers walk out over 35p pay rise

Hundreds of workers at Amazon in Bristol are walking out for a second day in protest over pay. Some 300 staff at the warehouse in Avonmouth stopped work at 11am on Friday (August 5) in response to being offered a pay rise of 35p an hour – around three percent.

It is understood the starting salary for workers at the Bristol site, which employs around 1,500 staff, is £11.10 an hour. The pay deal currently on offer will see this rise to £11.45, but staff are asking for a £2-an-hour raise.

On Thursday, staff in Bristol involved in the protest walked out for two hours between midday and 2pm – in a similar move to workers at a warehouse in Essex. “The fury and anger from the staff surely needs to put Amazon under the limelight again for the six per cent real-life pay cut when you take into account the nine percent inflation, which is still growing,” an Amazon worker told Bristol Live.

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The walkout comes as the cost of living squeeze is expected to worsen. The Bank of England said on Thursday it expects inflation – the price of goods and services in the UK – to hit a record high of 13% in October.

A spokesperson for Amazon said: “Starting pay for Amazon employees will be increasing to a minimum of between £10.50 and £11.45 per hour, depending on location. This is for all full-time, part-time, seasonal and temporary roles in the UK.

Amazon's warehouse in Avonmouth
Inside Amazon’s warehouse in Avonmouth
(Image: Hannah Baker)

“In addition to this competitive pay, employees are offered a comprehensive benefits package that includes private medical insurance, life assurance, income protection, subsidised meals and an employee discount among others, which combined are worth thousands annually, as well as a company pension plan.”

Bristol Live understands that since 2018, the minimum hourly rate paid to Amazon associates – the people who work on the warehouse floor packing and picking – has increased by 29%.

The Avonmouth site is not unionised but Amazon has so far denied there will be any disciplinary action. Amazon does not recognise trade unions in its UK warehouses. In the US, workers at the tech giant voted in April to form a union in a bid to improve working conditions.

Steve Garelick, regional organiser of the GMB Union, said on Thursday: “Amazon is one of the most profitable companies on the planet. With household costs spiralling, the least they can do is offer decent pay.

“Amazon continues to reject working with trade unions to deliver better working conditions and fair pay. Their repeated use of short-term contracts is designed to undermine worker’s rights. The image the company likes to project, and the reality for their workers could not be more different. They need to drastically improve pay and working conditions.”

Last week, Amazon reported its second-consecutive quarterly loss, but its revenue topped Wall Street expectations, sending its stock sharply higher.

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