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Warehouse staff in Coventry stop work in UK’s first official Amazon strike – business live

Key events

Amanda Gearing, GMB senior organiser, was asked whether Amazon is able to attract care home workers (who are also on low pay) by offering sign-on bonuses.

She said:

It’s not a place where you work for very long. They work you really hard. It’s a pressure cooker environment in there. They are using computers to assess the targets and workers don’t know what the targets are.

I can’t see workers wanting to come from care homes and other places to work for Amazon.

Introduction: Warehouse staff in Coventry stop work in UK’s first Amazon strike

Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of business, the financial markets and the world economy.

Amazon workers at a warehouse in Coventry will strike over pay today, the first time the e-commerce giant has faced industrial action in the UK.

The GMB union, which has organised the strike, expects about 300 staff out of just over 1,000 to take part.

Amanda Gearing from GMB, who is leading the strike, has been on radio 4’s Today programme. She called on Amazon to come to the negotiating table.

They should be listening to their workers and their workers are asking them to give them better pay, terms and conditions and get around the table with the union.

The warehouse workers are asking for a pay rise to £15 an hour from £10.50 (they were given a 50p rise in August), she said.

They just can’t live on that I’m afraid. £15 would mean that they are able to pay their bills. We’ve got the biggest cost of living crisis in decades and people are having to choose between heating their homes and eating. It’s not good enough. Not from someone like Amazon that got billions and billions of pounds of profits during the pandemic.

Gearing said workers at other Amazon warehouses in the UK might follow suit. The US company has 70,000 workers here.

Coventry might be the start of it but it won’t be the finish. We think people are watching on. We know there are workers at other centres that feel exactly the same and they are just waiting to see what happens.

There were several unofficial wildcat strikes across Amazon’s UK warehouses last August, when hundreds of workers staged spontaneous walkouts, sit-ins and work slowdowns in protest over pay, but this is the first balloted industrial action.

Factory gate inflation in the UK has slowed further, according to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics. This will eventually feed into consumer price inflation.

Producer input prices (costs like raw materials) rose by 16.5% in the year to December, down from 18% in the year to November, and 20.2% in the year to October. Factory gate prices rose at at an annual rate of 14.7% in December, down from 16.2% in November.

In more bad news for the embattled US tech sector, Microsoft gave a gloomy outlook last night, with revenue growth slowing in several areas including its cloud computing service Azure, despite releasing better-than-expected results. The electric carmaker Tesla will report fourth-quarter results later today.

Asian shares rose to seven-month highs but later gave up much of their gains, while the Australian dollar hit multi-month highs after inflation in the country rose to 7.8% in the fourth quarter from 7.3%.

The Agenda

  • 9am GMT: Germany Ifo business climate for January (forecast: 90.2)

  • 12pm GMT: US MBA Mortgage applications for week of 20 January

  • 3pm GMT: Bank of Canada interest rate decision (forecast: 25bps rise to 4.5%)

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