Warehouse workers in Coventry are to become the first from Amazon to strike in the UK.

A ballot of around 300 staff saw 98% vote to walk out in the New Year on a 63% turnout following the company’s pay offer of 50p per hour – rising to £10.56, equivalent to 5% and well below inflation.

Worker Darren Westwood told ITV News the offer was a “smack in the teeth” following their efforts as key workers during COVID-19.

“It made us feel so unappreciated. When I used to come to work during the pandemic, my kids used to cry,” he said.

“Obviously, they’d seen news and read reports about how COVID was impacting people. And they knew every night that I was going out to work with another thousand people in a warehouse.”

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Amazon UK Services Limited paid £10.8 million in tax in 2021 on pre-tax profits of £204m.

“Amazon workers in Coventry have made history – they will be the first ever in the UK to take part in a formal strike,” said Amanda Gearing, senior organiser at the GMB union.

“They should be applauded for their grit and determination – fighting for what’s right in the face of an appallingly hostile environment.  

“The fact that they are being forced to go on strike to win a decent rate of pay from one of the world’s most valuable companies should be a badge of shame for Amazon  

“Amazon can afford to do better. It’s not too late to avoid strike action; get round the table with GMB to improve the pay and conditions of workers.”

Amazon told ITV News that it appreciates the “great work” of its teams and is to make a one-off payment of up to £500 as an “extra thank you”.

It said delivery services would not be affected by the walkout in January.

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