Online giant boosts minimum starting pay to between £11.80 and £12.50 an hour
Amazon has announced a pay rise for its UK staff, effective from October 15. The online giant said the increase will apply to all full-time, part-time, temporary and seasonal roles, as well as over 15,000 seasonal employees who will be hired for the festive season. The minimum starting pay will increase to between £11.80 and £12.50 an hour, depending on location, and will rise further next April to between £12.30 and £13 an hour.
Amazon invests £170m in pay and claims to offer competitive wages and benefits
The company said the pay rise represents a £170m investment in pay and means its minimum starting pay will have risen by 20% in two years, and 50% since 2018. Amazon UK country manager John Boumphrey said: “We have some of the most talented colleagues around, and we’re proud to offer them competitive wages and benefits, as well as fantastic opportunities for career development, all in a safe and modern work environment.”
Amazon also said it offers a range of benefits to its staff, such as private medical insurance, life assurance, income protection, employee discount, company pension plan and career choice programme.
Amazon faces criticism from union over working conditions and union rights
However, the pay rise announcement has been met with skepticism and criticism from some quarters, especially from the GMB union, which represents some Amazon workers. The union has accused Amazon of paying poverty wages, imposing unsafe working conditions and surveilling its staff. The union has also held strikes among its members at Amazon in recent months.
Racheal Fagan, GMB organiser, said: “This news will bring little comfort to the thousands of Amazon workers facing poverty pay, unsafe working conditions and workplace surveillance. Amazon has spent millions fighting their own workers over union rights and fair pay. GMB members have forced a pay rise from one of the world’s most powerful corporations – but Amazon can and must do better.”
Amazon faces competition from other retailers who also offer higher pay
Amazon is not the only retailer that has announced pay rises for its staff recently. Other competitors such as Tesco, Morrisons, Aldi and Lidl have also increased their minimum wages to attract and retain workers amid a labour shortage in the UK. Tesco said it will raise its hourly rate to £10.25 by October 2022, while Morrisons said it will pay at least £10 an hour from April this year. Aldi and Lidl have also pledged to pay more than £10 an hour to their staff.
Amazon continues to grow its business and expand its presence in the UK
Despite the challenges and controversies, Amazon continues to grow its business and expand its presence in the UK. The company said it has created more than 25,000 new permanent jobs in the UK since 2010 and plans to create another 10,000 this year. It also said it has invested more than £32bn in its UK operations since 2010, including building new fulfilment centres, delivery stations, sortation centres and offices.
Amazon also said it has launched new services and products for its UK customers, such as Prime Video, Prime Music, Alexa, Echo devices, Kindle devices, Fire TV devices and Amazon Fresh.