Amazon has announced an overhaul of its minimum hourly pay rates in the USA and UK. This means a significant pay rise for some workers, but will the barons of British business follow suit?
From 1 November, Amazon employees will be paid at least £9.50 per hour, rising to £10.50 in London. This is significantly greater than the national living wage of £7.83 and still more than the recommended Living Wage Foundation rate of £8.75 (£10.20 in London).
This comes ahead of the busier than usual Christmas season, where Amazon and other retailers will be making use of zero hours contractors to take up extended hours and meet extra demand.
Whether Amazon can turn around its previously poor record on employee pay and treatment is yet to be seen, but it bodes well for employees across other big businesses operating in the UK, where competition for largely unskilled workers may become in even higher demand ahead of an anticipated worker exodus resulting from Brexit.
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Lifting the minimum wage is designed to tackle the firm’s critics head on. But some economists said the move was becoming a necessity as a result of labour shortages on both sides of the Atlantic. Amazon’s new UK minimum pay rates, which will take affect on 1 November, are at least 21% higher than the current national minimum wage of £7.83. The new rate is also higher than the level recommended by the Living Wage Foundation of £8.75, or £10.20 in London.