Amazon raises wages amid criticism


Online retailing giant Amazon is raising pay for hundreds of thousands of workers in the US and the UK. 

Amazon’s lowest paid US workers will receive $15 an hour. In the UK, pay will rise from £8.20 an hour in London to £10.50, while outside London the rate rises from £8 an hour to £9.50.

The move comes after criticism of its employment practices, with complaints over its warehouse working conditions.

Amazon has also been attacked by campaigners for how much tax it pays. 

The company is one of the biggest companies in the world, worth about $1 trillion.

Its founder, Jeff Bezos, is the world’s richest man, with a fortune estimated at some $150bn.

‘It’s a start’

The new pay rates start on 1 November, and will apply to all staff, full and part-time, as well as temporary and seasonal workers.

The move will benefit 250,000 workers in the US, 17,000 in the UK and tens of thousands of seasonal workers.

Tim Roache, the general secretary of the UK’s GMB union, welcomed the announcement but said more needed to be done: “Given their owner is the richest man in the world you’d think he could see fit to dig a little deeper, but it’s a start.

Mr Roache said that 90 per cent of the GMB Amazon members had said they experienced “constant pain at work”.

The union said Amazon did not allow it to operate under its roof.

TUC general secretary, Frances O’Grady, said: “If Amazon is really serious about looking after its workforce it must recognise trade unions. 

“Today’s announcement is… only a start and shouldn’t be spun as a huge act of generosity.”