Amazon Faces Strikes in the UK and Germany as Workers Seek Higher Pay

Amazon is facing labor challenges outside the U.S. as workers at a Coventry, UK warehouse become the first in that country to take formal strike action, and German union Verdi is reportedly encouraging workers to undertake a rolling strike during the leadup to Christmas, according to Reuters.

Employees at the Coventry warehouse, which is unionized under GMB, voted to walk out on a formal strike, likely in early 2023, in response to Amazon’s offer for a 50 pence per hour pay increase. The official vote to strike passed with a 98% majority and more than 63% turnout at the facility, which employs approximately 1,000 people.

“Amazon workers in Coventry have made history — they will be the first ever in the UK to take part in a formal strike,” said Amanda Gearing, Senior Organizer for GMB in a statement. “They should be applauded for their grit and determination — fighting for what’s right in the face of an appallingly hostile environment.”

Gearing also noted that the strike could be called off if Amazon returns to the negotiating table with GMB to discuss improved pay and working conditions.


Verdi’s rolling strikes also are planned in protest over pay, with the union claiming that wage hikes have lagged behind inflation. The labor action would pause work at seven alternating distribution centers over a series of unannounced strikes aimed at disrupting pre-Christmas business. Amazon operates 20 logistics centers in Germany.

Amazon doesn’t recognize collective bargaining agreements in Germany, and Verdi claims this has led to Amazon staff in the country making several thousand euros a year less than their counterparts in unionized warehouses.

“Colleagues are furious and don’t want to be taken for fools by a company that makes billions in profits,” said Verdi in a statement seen by Reuters.

However, Amazon noted that it offered all German logistics staff pay increases in September and that it also offers benefits and training opportunities. “Starting pay is upwardsof 13 euros an hour, including bonuses, with pay averaging over 35,000 euros a year gross after two years,” said Amazon in a statement seen by Reuters.

Unionization efforts at Amazon warehouses in the U.S. have had only mixed success; they have yet to result in any major labor actions. A facility in Castleton, N.Y. failed to unionize by a nearly two-to-one margin in October 2022, but the Teamsters Union is aiming to give organizing efforts a boost with a division dedicated to unionizing Amazon workers.

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