As Black Friday kicks off, traditionally one of the busiest shopping days of the year, hundreds of Amazon staff in Coventry have initiated a strike in the midst of a pay dispute with the retail giant.

Members of the GMB union are taking a stand, picketing outside the Amazon site in Coventry.

This marks the latest escalation in a series of strikes that began in January, with the most recent action occurring at the beginning of the month.

Similar strikes and demonstrations are set to take place not only in the UK but also across Europe and the United States, constituting what unions claim to be the largest day of action in Amazon’s history.

Despite the walkout, Amazon has assured customers that the industrial action will not disrupt their services.

1,000 have joined the strike

Approximately 1,000 workers in Coventry have joined the strike, with the GMB union official, Amanda Gearing, asserting that this day will be remembered as a turning point in Amazon’s history. Gearing stated, “Working people who make Amazon’s business model possible stand up to demand their share of the company’s enormous wealth.”

She added, “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.”

An Amazon spokesperson responded to the strike, noting that the company regularly reviews its pay structure to ensure competitive wages and benefits. The spokesperson mentioned that by April 2024, the minimum starting pay at Amazon will have increased to £12.30 and £13 per hour, depending on the location. This represents a 20 percent increase over two years and a 50 percent increase since 2018.

Pay exceeds the National Living Wage

The spokesperson further highlighted Amazon’s efforts to provide excellent benefits, a positive work environment, and promising career opportunities. Despite the ongoing strike, the company emphasised that its pay exceeds the National Living Wage, which is set to rise from £10.42 to £11.44 per hour from April, according to the recent Autumn Statement by Chancellor Jeremy Hunt. Amazon also pointed out that its pay is higher than the voluntary Real Living Wage, standing at £12 per hour for workers outside of London, along with additional benefits.

The strike unfolds against the backdrop of the Black Friday shopping frenzy, where British consumers are expected to spend billions of pounds, although some experts caution that better deals may be found at other times of the year.






Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.