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GMB Union ramps up its dispute with Amazon UK

View profile for Daniel Crook
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The General & Municipal Workers Union, reported to have in excess of 560,000 members in the UK across nearly all industrial sectors, has recently stepped up its actions against Amazon.

It has issued a Class Action “Inducement Claim” in the Employment Tribunal at the end of April ’24, following its notification to ACAS of its intention to do so. The law allows employees to bring a claim against an employer, where it is asserted the workers have been offered inducements to give up their collective bargaining rights. If the claimants were to succeed, every impacted employee may be in line for an award of damages currently in excess of £5500. At around 1800 employees per warehouse a lot is at stake.

The Union asserts that Amazon is seeking to coerce staff at its Coventry Fulfilment Centre to cancel their union membership by employing tactics Amazon had previously employed in the US.

This follows the Union securing a ballot under which GMB members had to be officially recognised by Amazon.

The Union argues that tactics seeking to coerce workers to cancel their union membership include compelling them to attend anti-union seminars and displaying anti-union messages throughout its workplaces. One such example being Amazon erecting QR codes on site – which generate emails to the Union Membership Department requesting the cancellation of a worker’s membership.

A spokesperson for Amazon is reported to have stated “Our employees told us how difficult it was to cancel their union membership, so we provided information to help, through signs that always state that it’s an employee’s personal choice. Additionally, it is made clear to employees that attendance at meetings is entirely their choice too”.

Pay disputes including strike action at the Coventry warehouse are said to be continuing, despite Amazon recently announcing that pay would increase by at least £1 per hour – to around £12.00 per hour. By April ’25 this should increase to between £12.30 and £13.00 per hour.

This equates to spending over £170m over the next 6 months in pay rises. Amazon reported sales totalling £110.50 bn in the last quarter.

Expect the disputes to rumble on. The GMB’s “Inducement” action may be seeking to gain leverage in its general pay disputes. Perhaps it may make sense to keep an eye on the price of your “Prime” membership over the next year or two…….

Whether an employee or employer, should you have any Employment  issues requiring assistance, our Employment team can be contacted at our Ashford Office, by telephone on 01233 624545, by emailing dbc@kingsfords.net or using our on-line enquiry form  at www.kingsfords-solicitors.com

GMB Union ramps up its dispute with Amazon UK

View profile for Daniel Crook
  • Posted
  • Author