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Amazon could soon be forced to recognise UK's GMB trade union

Published 04/19/2024, 05:59 AM
Updated 04/19/2024, 09:41 AM
© Reuters. Protestors hold placards during industrial action outside the Amazon warehouse, in Coventry, Britain March 19, 2024. REUTERS/Molly Darlington

LONDON (Reuters) -U.S. technology and retail giant Amazon (O:AMZN) could soon be required to formally recognise the GMB trade union at its Coventry warehouse in Britain, after a government body ruled in the union's favour.

GMB said in a statement on Friday that Amazon workers at the site would now vote on union recognition, and if approved, it would be the first time outside the United States that Amazon was required to bargain with a union over pay, hours and holiday.

Amazon has historically opposed unionisation, but in 2022, workers at one of its New York warehouses forced the company to recognise a trade union in the U.S. for the first time.

The company's preference has been to resolve issues with employees directly rather than through unions.

Workers at the Coventry warehouse in central England have been involved in a dispute over pay and union recognition for over a year.

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Protestors hold placards during industrial action outside the Amazon warehouse, in Coventry, Britain March 19, 2024. REUTERS/Molly Darlington/File Photo

Amazon said in an emailed statement: "Our employees have the choice of whether or not to join a union. They always have. We regularly review our pay to ensure we offer competitive wages and benefits."

The company employs 75,000 people in the UK, making it one of the country's top ten private sector employers.

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