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Amazon workers benefit from wage boost

04 October 2018 - 10:52 by David Aiken

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Online retail giant Amazon has caved to pressure and announced a pay rise for employees across the UK, as well as in its native US.

British workers based at its locations in London will now receive a minimum of £10.50 for every hour that they work, while outside of the capital this rate will sit at £9.50.

American employees will receive a $15 hourly rate at the lower end of its pay scale, coming after a year in which yet more criticism has been levelled at the firm for the way that it treats the tens of thousands of staff who help millions of consumers carry out safe shopping online.

The additional hit of good news for British employees is that this pay rise will apply not only to permanent team members, but also to the vast number of people who will take on seasonal roles as Amazon prepares to handle a huge volume of orders in the weeks leading up to Christmas this year.

These rises will put Amazon’s wages slightly ahead of the minimum recommended by the Living Wage Foundation, both nationally and in London. It represents an effective hourly increase of £2.30-£2.50, which will make a big difference for many people.

The reputation of Amazon has taken a number of hits recently, both as a result of disputes with workers and its tax affairs. This step will go some way towards rebuilding bridges that had previously been burnt, although the majority of its customers have been happy to use its site for shopping online irrespective of its pay and accounting practices.

Rapid growth in online retail has put pressure on outlets of all sizes to meet customer expectations, occasionally at the cost of working conditions for staff. Improvements to pay are welcome in this case, especially as Amazon’s value has skyrocketed in 2018.