By Matt Hirst and Paul Hunt
On Sunday, over 500 workers began another round of strike action at the BHX4 site in Coventry. After taking their first round of action in January, where around 300 workers took action, the fact that more workers have joined the union and taking action this time shows the thirst for an improvement in wages and conditions that a strike can ignite.
The strike action is not just inspiring workers at the BHX4 site to take action, however. Workers at Coalville and Kegworth, both in Leicestershire; Mansfield in Nottinghamshire; Rugeley in Staffordshire; and Rugby in Warwickshire have been joining the union and are currently holding consultative votes in their steps to taking action for better pay.
Amazon announced a paltry wage rise earlier this month, averaging at only 1.8%-2.5% – with inflation currently running at 10.4%, this is woefully inadequate and amounts to a pay cut of up to 8.6%. This, coming from one of the world’s richest companies, with Jeff Bezos’ personal wealth currently standing at $125.6 billion, is less than insulting.
Bezos has only reached this ridiculous level of personal wealth through the exploitation of Amazon workers worldwide, and the unionisation drive at the KCVG Air Hub in Northern Kentucky, US, is an inspiration on organising previously unorganised workers. However, Amazon is fighting the unionisation tooth and nail, using illegal tactics to harass and fire workers who are leading the organising drive.
Amazon has shown they will fight a union every step of the way, and they will only get more vicious as the strikes gain more and more support. There are no shortcuts to winning, but workers in Coventry are showing a willingness to fight against all the odds, which should serve as an inspiration for all workers going in to dispute.
The local trade union movement is showing fantastic solidarity, with an Amazon Workers Support Group having been set up, and Amazon workers are being invited to union branch meetings to update everyone on the campaign. By further escalating the dispute and unionisation drive through the Amazon Empire and the wider warehouse and distribution sector, alongside the union movement throwing its resources behind these courageous workers, it will be possible to win!