Adam Harmsworth, Coventry Socialist Party
On Black Friday, Amazon workers across the world organised strikes and other actions at Amazon sites. This was a powerful coordinated protest against poverty pay and awful work conditions, organised under the banner of ‘Make Amazon Pay’.
The BHX4 site in Coventry, where GMB members have been striking, was centre of attention nationally and internationally. TV crews were already on site when Socialist Party members arrived early in the morning. Members of the Socialist Party from Coventry, Nuneaton, and Northampton branches joined the picket line along with Warwick Socialist Students, which really illustrates how much enthusiasm there is to help the strike fight and build. Several BHX4 strikers have now expressed interest in joining the Socialist Party.
One striking worker spoke to the Socialist, and told us they registered 780 on the picket line – a new record, nearly double the previous! Alongside the hundreds of strikers were many supporters, including trade unionists from abroad. The striker said: “It was great to see people from the other unions from the other countries”.
“The campaign ‘Make Amazon Pay’ has gone global, with workers from Italy, Germany, Spain, India and USA all getting together, which is what is needed”. Members of the Teamsters union in the US, ver.di in Germany, and CGIL in Italy joined the BHX4 picket line. They refused to just observe the picket; they helped the workers stop traffic! “We managed to cause trouble for two hours”. The road into BHX4 was gridlocked. Usually, police divert traffic onto the wrong side of the road to try and get strike-breakers through the picket. On Friday, that wasn’t an option.
Tens of thousands of Amazon workers in Britain are struggling with the same issues. Many will look to BHX4 for inspiration. There is potential to unionise at every site and launch a massive strike wave to bring Amazon to heel. As the Socialist Party said in our latest bulletin, “GMB must throw everything at this fight, because Amazon bosses will!”