Amazon workers at the Coventry warehouse strike voted for a further 6 months of strike action recently. This came on the 19th day of strike action already taken. 99% of workers taking part in the ballot favoured strike action. However, strike ballots at two other Amazon warehouses at Mansfield and Rugeley failed to meet the required threshold, thwarting the chances of united strike action.
The GMB union of which the Amazon workers are members, withdrew an application for trade union recognition after Amazon bosses took on an extra 1,000 workers in a dirty tricks ploy. This was to sabotage the GMB’s efforts to show it had majority support among Amazon workers at Coventry, with 800 members. The Central Arbitration Committee(CAC) which grants union recognition, accepted Amazon’s claims that 2,700 workers were employed at Coventry.
Despite this, the strike is having an effect on Amazon. It was forced to offer £11 an hour for workers, as well as enhanced employment rights for parents. Amazon workers at Amazon tuned this down, calling for £15 an hour.
These strikes show the courage and determination of an increasing number of precarious and gig workers to stand up to appalling treatment where every second worked is monitored using cameras and devices that workers must carry at all times. And where bullying by managers is widespread. As Amazon fails to recognise the GMB for bargaining purposes, strikes are recorded as unauthorised absence, so that disciplinary procedures could be used by Amazon bosses. Despite this, the 800 workers at Coventry have remained determined.