17th Sep, 2021

Protest at Coventry Cathedral as row between unions and Amazon continues

CAMPAIGNERS held a protest at Coventry Cathedral yesterday to show support for Unite’s drive to get trade union rights for directly employed Amazon employees and gig economy workers.

It is the latest action in a long-running row between the unions and the distribution firm.

Unite executive officer Sharon Graham said: “Amazon workers have played a crucial part in people’s lives during the pandemic and the public expects fair employment practices and decent terms and conditions.”

She accused Amazon of attacking all attempts of workers to ‘gain a collective voice’ and said it was ‘time for a new settlement’.

A Unite spokesperson said: “If Amazon say they will not stand in the way of workers joining a union, they should be happy to sign Unite’s Declaration of Neutrality to confirm that in writing as we have asked it to do.”

But an Amazon spokesperson refuted the claims and said its employees were able to join a union if they wished.

“We respect our employees’ right to join, form, or not to join a labour union or other lawful organisation of their own selection, without fear of reprisal, intimidation, or harassment.

“Across Amazon, including in our delivery stations, we place enormous value on having daily conversations with each team member and work to make sure direct engagement with our employees is a strong part of our work culture.

“The fact is, we already offer excellent pay, excellent benefits and excellent opportunities for career growth, all while working in a safe, modern work environment.

“The unions know this.”

According to a poll of 2,000 people by Survation, two thirds of people viewed Amazon staff as ‘key workers’ because of their efforts during the pandemic.

Almost half said they changed their view of Amazon workers and valued them more now than they did 16 months ago.

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