By Sophie Squire
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Amazon workers close to winning fight for union recognition

Union recognition has to be the start of building a fighting union
Issue 2902
An Amazon fulfilment centre as workers are on strike

An Amazon fulfilment centre in Britain (Picture: Chris Watt)

Sheer determination and solid action has meant that Amazon workers in Coventry are close to winning union recognition at their warehouse. The Central Arbitration Committee (CAC), the government body responsible for regulating collective bargaining between workers and employers, announced last Friday that workers should be able to vote in an official ballot to decide whether they want to be part of a union. 

If workers vote yes to union recognition Amazon bosses would be required to meet with union representatives to negotiate pay and terms and conditions. This latest step forward has only been possible because Amazon workers in Coventry have fought so hard. 

Workers at BHX4 fulfilment centre have taken 30 days of strikes and have stood together on big and militant picket lines. And the crucial beginning for the Amazon campaign was unofficial walkouts at several sites including Coventry in 2022.

Coventry workers have also fought against the dirty tricks Amazon bosses’ use to stop union recognition. Anti-union laws mean that bosses can only be forced to officially recognise a union if more than 50 percent of workers are in that union. The number of workers in the GMB union at BHX4 has crossed that threshold several times in the last year. But Amazon has flooded the warehouse with new starters to try to prevent recognition. 

Amazon worker Garfield told Socialist Worker in January that workers pushed hard to recruit these new starters to the union every time this happened. “The managers employ people they don’t think will want to fight back. But we’re having conversations with them and recruiting them just the same.” 

After hearing the recognition news, Amazon worker Darren Westwood said, “All that hard work we’ve put in has finally paid off. We are now allowed to vote and become a recognised union. I know Amazon has got a lot of people inside trying to dissuade us from doing what we’re doing. 

“They’re trying to scare people, but we don’t scare easily. We’ve stood out here time and time again together in the rain, snow and freezing cold. We’ve stood side by side, and we’ve shared stories with other people. Now there is a bigger story to be told—we could be the first official union at Amazon in Britain.” 

The ballot dates will be announced soon. Union recognition has to be the start of building a fighting union that achieves concrete gains. Coventry workers should continue to push for workers at other fulfilment centres to fight.

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