40,000 people sign petition asking Amazon to raise UK warehouse wages
December 21, 2013 | 9:00 am
The Bookseller reports that, over the course of just two days, 40,000 people signed a Change.org petition calling on Amazon to pay its UK warehouse workers the Living Wage. (It was up to 47,909 signatures when I checked, with 2,091 required to reach its goal of 50,000. It will of course have more by now.)
The current UK legal minimum wage is £6.31 [US $10.31] an hour but the according to the Living Wage Foundation, the Living Wage rates – set annually by the Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University and the Greater London Authority – are £7.65 [US $12.50] an hour for the UK and £8.80 [US $14.37] for London.
US minimum wage, by comparison, is $7.25 an hour. But then, the average cost of living in the UK is 18 to 42% higher than in the US.
In response, Amazon sent a link to a page which said new members of staff receive a median wage of £7.05 [US $11.52] which tends to increase to £8.02 [US $13.10] after 24 months. Seasonal employees earn 90% of the starting wage of Amazon’s permanent staff, while 95% of seasonal employees also work a 40-hour week, according to the page.
Meanwhile, a German union representing Amazon workers has been striking for higher wages, and vows to fight on into next year.
It’s not clear that Change.org petitions are necessarily worth the paper they’re not printed on, slacktivism being what it is. It’s also not clear how many people who signed it are even in the UK. But it does show people are worried about the issue…at least enough to be willing to click a “sign” button on a web site.
In other Amazon-warehouse-related news, a temporary staffer in an Amazon warehouse died after being crushed by equipment December 4th. OSHA is investigating.