UK

GMB union holds protests at Amazon sites

  • 13 February 2013
  • From the section UK
GMB protest at Amazon, Doncaster
Image caption Protesters at Amazon's Doncaster site carried a giant Anti-social behaviour order for the firm

A union has held protests outside nine sites run by online retailer Amazon in a row over workers' pay and conditions.

The GMB claimed the firm was failing to pay corporation tax and was not offering a "living wage" to employees.

Protests were held outside sites at Doncaster, Swansea, Glenrothes, Gourock, Hemel Hempstead, Peterborough, Milton Keynes, Rugeley and Slough.

Amazon said it paid "all applicable taxes" and offered a "competitive package" to all its employees.

About 20 protesters outside the company's Doncaster site were dressed as grim reapers, wore masks of David Cameron and Nick Clegg and carried a giant mock Anti-social Behaviour Order (Asbo).

'Corporate Asbo'

Paul Clarke, GMB national officer, said where Amazon differed from other retailers was its "refusal to pay proper taxes or to treat its workers properly".

"Profitable companies like Amazon, dodging fair taxes while failing to pay their staff a living wage and treat them properly, deserve a corporate Asbo," he said.

Mr Clarke said the retailer also denied staff the right to union representation and collective bargaining.

In a statement, Amazon said it employs more than 5,000 permanent employees across the UK as well as thousands of temporary staff, adding it paid "all applicable taxes in every jurisdiction that it operates within".

"We are proud of providing our associates with a safe and positive working environment, which includes on-the-job training and opportunities for career progression," the firm said.

The retailer offered its employees a "competitive package" including performance-related pay, with permanent employees also offered benefits including healthcare and a personal pension plan, it added.

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