Amazon raises hourly pay for UK workers by 50 pence; union mulls more strikes

Extinction Rebellion activist protest outside Amazon Fulfilment Centre in Altrincham
A logo of Amazon is pictured on a vehicle as Extinction Rebellion activists protest outside the Amazon Fulfilment Centre in Altrincham, near Manchester, Britain, November 26, 2021. REUTERS/Carl Recine

March 22 (Reuters) - Inc (AMZN.O) on Wednesday raised the minimum starting pay for its employees at its UK operations by up to 50 pence to between 11 pounds ($13.50) and 12 pounds per hour, a move that has angered its union that had demanded a bigger hike.

The pay rise comes less than a week after hundreds of workers at an Amazon warehouse in Coventry in central England staged the latest walkout in a dispute over pay this year.

"We're listening to Amazon workers and the message is very clear: this new pay rate is an insult," said Amanda Gearing, senior organiser of GMB, the union which represents more than 500 Amazon workers.

"So, in response we will be consulting over the next few days and announcing a new wave of action."

The union had said the Amazon Coventry workers are demanding 15 pounds an hour to cope with a cost-of-living crisis that has sparked strikes across sectors in Britain over the last several months.

The new increase, which will depend on locations and start from April, comes after Amazon last year raised UK hourly wages by 50 pence to between 10.50 and 11.45 pounds per hour.

"Over the past seven months, our minimum pay has risen by 10% and by more than 37% since 2018," Amazon said in a statement.

Amazon, which has 70,000 workers in the UK, in January announced plans to shut three warehouses in Britain this year, in a move that will affect 1,200 jobs, but said workers will be given the chance to transfer to other units.

Those include three older British warehouses in Hemel Hampstead, Doncaster and Gourock.

($1 = 0.8151 pound)

Reporting by Yadarisa Shabong, Radhika Anilkumar and Prerna Bedi in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Jonathan Oatis

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