Parents and grandparents who work in Amazon warehouses will have the option to only work during school terms.
According to Amazon, the new contract would enable parents to take a total of eight weeks off between the months of June and August, including six weeks over the summer and two over the holidays. However, the GMB union, which is battling Amazon for recognition, stated that while flexible work schedules are welcome, the majority of employees want higher wages.
Neil Travis, director of regional operations at Amazon, stated that he believes flexible working will encourage more people to return to the workforce. Mr. Travis mentioned that we had invested a significant amount of time in listening to our staff members, and one of the things that we discovered was that they desired more flexible opportunities.
He went on to say that the contract does not change the fact that workers are entitled to full-time benefits. Amazon is offering the new contract at the same time it is fighting the GMB's quest to become the company's first recognized trade union in Europe.
The company employs over 70,000 individuals in the United Kingdom. Amazon stated that union recognition is not necessary. It was said that the company would prefer to connect directly with its workforce as opposed to doing so through a labor union.
This year, employees at the Amazon fulfillment center in Coventry went on strike for a combined total of sixteen days. They are demanding that their hourly remuneration be increased to a level equivalent to fifteen pounds per hour.
Amanda Gearing, a senior organizer for the GMB, stated that more flexible employment contracts are a plus, but that the workforce's top priority is increased compensation. She stated that she does not believe this to be what they are seeking at this time. They are expressing that they cannot survive on poverty pay by requesting more money.
Amazon has maintained that its pay rates are comparable to those offered by other companies, and the business has only recently increased compensation by 10%. According to the GMB, the majority of Amazon Coventry warehouse employees desire union representation, and the GMB has applied to the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) for statutory recognition.
According to the union, the majority of the workforce at Coventry, which consists of 800 individuals, is now represented by union members. Mr. Travis refused to say whether the company would be willing to recognize the GMB if it could demonstrate majority support among the Coventry workforce. Mr. Travis stated that the GMB has formally applied to CAC and that they are collaborating with CAC as part of this process. He mentioned that they continue to place an importance on interacting directly with their employees to offer them highly competitive salaries and comprehensive benefits.
However, in its submission to the CAC, Amazon could argue that there are more warehouse employees than GMB estimates, which could lead to the CAC denying GMB recognition. A decision by the committee could take several weeks.