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Amazon 'Listens To Critics' With Huge Pay Increase For UK Workers

03 October, 2018, 08:29 | Author: Melinda Barton
  • Kathleen Frey loaded a cart with customer orders at an Amazon distribution warehouse in Fall River in 2017

Amazon's new pay rate includes workers who are hired through temp agencies and subsidiaries in the U.S. The company has more than 575,000 employees worldwide.

Sanders said that no worker employed full-time in the U.S. should be living in poverty.

Amazon has announced that it will raise its hourly minimum wage to $15.

"We listened to our critics, thought hard about what we wanted to do, and decided we want to lead", Bezos said in a statement on Tuesday announcing the change.

Amazon is encouraging other large U.S. employers to follow its lead and said it would lobby lawmakers for an increase in the federal minimum wage, now at only $7.25.

"What Mr. Bezos has done today is not only enormously important for Amazon's hundreds of thousands of employees, it could well be a shot heard around the world", said Sanders in a statement.

"This will impact more than 37,000 employees across the country, resulting in higher pay for them and their families". For instance, Uline, which has a sprawling warehouse complex along Mill Creek Road between Hamilton Boulevard and the Route 222 Bypass, now starts its warehouse workers at $17.50 an hour. When the tech boom began to take off, unions and wage standards felt less urgent for companies that could be run out of a single room by a handful of people on computers.

It's a serious shift away from the strained relationship between the two, as Sanders has previously bashed Amazon for its working conditions, the company claiming his portrayal of its treatment of employees was "inaccurate and misleading". Afterward, Amazon in 2012 spent $52 million installing air conditioners at its warehouses around the country. That's more than twice the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Employees at Whole Foods, the upscale grocery chain Amazon owns, will get the same pay hike. "But at the end of the day what I have to say is, I have to give credit where credit is due".

Amazon's average wages at its fulfillment centres is US$13 an hour. Sanders called on retail, fast food and other industries to follow suit. Amazon has almost 600,000 employees - many of them working in package warehouses, the company's chain of Whole Foods grocery stores, and other places with large numbers of hourly wage workers. Walmart is now the largest private employer in the nation, with a workforce topping 1.5 million employees.

Amazon is the second publicly traded company to be worth US$1 trillion, hot on the heels of Apple. But it's more than twice the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.

Amazon on Tuesday announced plans to raise the company's minimum wage in the United States to $15 - more than twice the federal minimum wage of $7.25.

Higher wages could further pressure margins at retailers that are already getting squeezed by higher transportation and raw materials costs, but the $15 still compares unfavorably with average USA blue collar wages.

"What's interesting about Silicon Valley-and I'm including Amazon, even though they're not technically Silicon Valley-is that those companies have attained a position of great power in the USA economy with relatively little in the way of labor market policies because they employ very few workers relative to what companies in similar positions of power would've employed in pervious eras", Steinbaum says.

Amazon median pay previous year was $28,446, according to a company filing. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)-who has been leading the public pressure and shaming campaign against Amazon over the past several months-wrote on Twitter in response to the video. "As we have seen with other retailers who have already done this, including Walmart (NYSE:WMT) and Target (NYSE:TGT), the returns will ultimately outweigh the costs", O'Shea continued.


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