Hundreds of Amazon staff have gone on strike as people take advantage of Black Friday, one of the year’s busiest shopping days.

Members of the GMB union are locked in a pay dispute with their employer and are on the picket line outside the firm’s Coventry site.

Strikes are also taking place in Europe and the US – unions say it is the biggest walkout in Amazon history.

Amazon said the industrial action would not affect customers.

The GMB said about 1,000 workers have joined the strike in Coventry, where staff were the first of Amazon’s employees to walk off the job, when the pay dispute erupted in January.

GMB official Amanda Gearing said: “Today will go down as a turning point in Amazon’s history.

“Working people who make Amazon’s business model possible stand up to demand their share of the company’s enormous wealth.

“Despite that, Amazon bosses are desperate to claim it will be business as usual for Amazon and their customers this Black Friday.

“The truth is that today will see the largest day of industrial disruption in Amazon’s history.”

GMB union members striking in CoventryIMAGE SOURCE,REUTERS
Image caption,

British consumers are expected to spend billions of pounds on Black Friday, although some experts have warned that deals might be better at other times of the year

But an Amazon spokesperson said the firm regularly reviews its pay “to ensure we offer competitive wages and benefits”.

“By April 2024, our minimum starting pay will have increased to £12.30 and £13 per hour, depending on location – that’s a 20% increase over two years and 50% since 2018,” they continued.

“We also work hard to provide great benefits, a positive work environment and excellent career opportunities. These are just some of the reasons people want to come and work at Amazon, whether it’s their first job, a seasonal role or an opportunity for them to advance their career.”

The strike comes two days after the Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn Statement included an announcement that the National Living Wage is set to rise from £10.42 to £11.44 per hour, from April.

Amazon said its pay was above that level already, as well as being higher than the voluntary Real Living Wage, which stands at £12 an hour for workers outside of London. It added that it also offers other benefits.

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