In this report, a worker in Coventry tells us how they joined the current wave of wildcat strikes sweeping through Amazon warehouses in Britain. This article was first published by Notes from Below.
How the Amazon wildcat spread
We worked through the entire Covid pandemic, including the lockdowns. We’ve been waiting for information about this pay rise since April with everyone expecting at least £2 extra per hour. However, management announced on Wednesday that we were only going to get a 50p rise per hour.
We only planned to go on strike two hours before it actually happened. We had seen the strikes at Tilbury and Rugeley fulfilment centres on TikTok during our break time, and it inspired us to strike. We watched those videos at 11am, and started spreading the idea of a walkout through word of mouth around the warehouse. By 1pm, we had over 300 people who walked out and stopped working. At the beginning, we had no help with the strikes from any trade unions. We organised it all ourselves. However, after we walked out, GMB made some contact with us about joining the union and giving us advice.
When we walked out again on Thursday, the GM (General Manager) came into the canteen area, where those of us refusing to work had congregated. The GM told us we had 30 minutes to come up with our reasoning for refusing to work and send someone over to discuss the strike with them. We refused to send only one person, as we all agreed that we wanted to go as one team.
We told the GM that we demand a better pay rise, asked them questions about our pay, and how they had come up with this 50p per hour rise. We were then told later that they would “take it away and try to get an answer.” After this, the managers said we wouldn’t get paid unless we returned to work. But everyone stayed, still refusing to go back to work.
On Friday morning, again about 100 associates walked out and protested outside.
Our struggle is far from over. We have more collective action planned for the following days, as we keep fighting for a proper pay rise.