Amazon Under Pressure to Recognise Union

Amazon UK could be forced to recognise union for the first time

The GMB union, which represents workers from all industries, has written to Amazon requesting formal recognition within its workplace. The union has said it has enrolled a majority of employees at Amazon’s Coventry warehouse, meaning they have met the threshold for recognition by law.

If Amazon does decide to formally recognise the GMB union, it will be the first time they have done so in the UK. It’s hoped that this will give workers more power to negotiate over conditions, pay, holidays and sick leave.

Union members will not accept a “pay rise of pennies”

The GMB union’s latest move follows weeks of campaigning and strike action which resulted in Amazon offering UK workers a 50p increase in their minimum starting salary. This took the hourly rate to between £11 and £12, depending on location.

But GMB senior organiser Amanda Gearing said this offer was an “insult” and that Amazon employees “will not accept a pay rise of pennies from one of the world’s wealthiest corporations”. The union is now calling for an hourly wage of £15 an hour.

In response, Amazon UK released a statement which said: “We offer competitive pay, comprehensive benefits, opportunities for career growth, all while working in a safe, modern work environment. At Amazon, these benefits and opportunities come with the job, as does the ability to communicate directly with the leadership of the company.”

What happens if Amazon doesn’t grant recognition?

Amazon now has 10 days to respond to the GMB union’s request. But there are concerns that the company will do all they can to avoid granting the union formal recognition. Gearing told the BBC that there is a “full process in place to try and prevent the GMB from forming”.

She added that although the union now have the number of members needed to get statutory recognition, Amazon would “go out of their way to flood (the) warehouse floor with more workers so that the numbers are different”.

If Amazon does not formally recognise the GMB union, the Central Arbitration Committee could become involved and automatically grant the union legal recognition. But this would not guarantee an increase in wages for Amazon’s UK workers.

Bosses at GMB have said that if Amazon continues to refuse negotiations around pay, they could face a “summer of strike chaos” as more workers join up and take industrial action. This is something we’ve seen across the private and public sector recently as employees campaign for their rights in the workplace.

If your employer has breached the terms of your contract or is not meeting their duty of care towards you, our solicitors could help.

For more information, get in touch with our friendly team or enquire online.


It seems you are using an outdated browser.

This will impair your browsing experience around the web. Please visit one of the links below to update to a modern browser then re-open the site with the new browser.

Thank you


Can't find what you are looking for?

We are open as normal during the Coronavirus lockdown and are able to help with all your legal needs.

Call us free of charge

0800 567 7866

Request a Callback

Continue browsing