The Socialist 10 October 2018 |
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Workers' action wins Amazon pay rise - but stingy Bezos tries to claw it back
Nationalise Amazon! £10 an hour now!
An Amazon warehouse, photo Scott Lewis/CC (Click to enlarge)
Kris O'Sullivan, Birmingham Central Socialist Party
Buzz buzz buzz - "END STILL TIME." That's the alert Amazon warehouse workers receive when they spend too much time not moving - resting from hard manual work.
But now, collective workers' action has forced billionaire boss Jeff Bezos to concede pay rises - £9.50 an hour in the UK and $15 in the US.
There have been horror stories of workers contracting gallstones as they are too scared to go for a toilet break, or working till they pass out due to lack of ventilation. In my home city of Birmingham, 115 ambulances have been called out to the Amazon warehouse in the past three years!
It's understandable if you think this is something straight out of a Black Mirror episode. But it's now common practice across Amazon and the logistics sector.
Alongside poverty pay, insecure hours, and terrible health and safety standards, workers have said enough is enough! Across the world they have been organising collectively - striking in Spain and Italy, and joining unions in the US and UK.
This rising threat is what squeezed the raise out of Bezos. But the capitalist press says it's simply due to kindly Amazon 'listening to its critics'. What drivel and lies!
Jeff Bezos - the richest man on the face of the planet, who is spending $42 million on building a '10,000-year clock' inside a mountain in Texas - doesn't care about critics. He cares only about his profits.
That's why it's only now, when workers have flexed their industrial muscles and hurt these profits, that we see better pay.
However, tight-fisted Bezos has done it by robbing Peter to pay Paul - ending monthly bonuses and stock awards, and attacking agency workers' conditions.
This shows that workers struggle can win a better deal for today, but the capitalists will always seek to take it back tomorrow.
That's why the Socialist Party says workers should call the shots to truly protect and secure all of our futures.
This can only happen under a radically different system, where industry is collectively owned and democratically planned: the system of socialism.