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Time to let unions in, Unite tells Amazon as it recruits 10,000

AMAZON is to recruit 10,000 new workers in Britain, the online giant announced today, prompting renewed calls for union rights.

The move, which includes the creation of a new parcel centre, four “fulfilment centres” and the expansion of its delivery station network, will bring the company’s UK workforce up to 55,000 in total by the end of the year.

The company tripled its profits to £5.8 billion during the first three months of this year, riding high on the internet-shopping boom during the Covid-19 crisis, but has long been criticised for its anti-union stance.

Amazon said that the new jobs would have “excellent pay and benefits,” and that they would be accompanied by a £10 million training programme developed alongside the British Chambers of Commerce.

Unite, which campaigns for union rights at the company and runs a confidential whistleblowers’ hotline for its staff, said that Amazon “continues to be plagued by reports of poor working conditions and anti-union tactics.”

Unite executive officer Sharon Graham, one of the candidates to succeed current general secretary Len McCluskey, said: “Unite has written to billionaire Amazon owner Jeff Bezos to call on him to guarantee workers the freedom to talk with and form a union without fear.

“If the company is genuine about creating good jobs in the UK then it should be more than happy to sign this declaration.”

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “Amazon’s announcement is fantastic news and a huge vote of confidence in the British economy, helping us deliver on our commitment to level up across the UK with a whopping 10,000 new permanent jobs.”

Unite’s confidential Action on Amazon hotline can be reached on (0800) 014 -1461 or at actiononamazon.org/hotline.

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