Company says it has ‘listened to its critics’ as it increases US rate to $15 and UK to £9.50.
As reported by The Guardian, Amazon has raised its minimum wage for British and American workers, in a major milestone for campaigners pushing for pay increases to tackle rising levels of poverty and inequality.
The company, which has become almost a byword for low-paid and low-quality work in recent years, said it would increase the minimum wage to $15 (£11.57) an hour in the US for more than 350,000 workers, while almost 40,000 staff in Britain will get an increase to £10.50 an hour in London and £9.50 across the rest of the country.
Jeff Bezos, the billionaire founder of the e-commerce company, commented: “We listened to our critics, thought hard about what we wanted to do, and decided we want to lead. We’re excited about this change and encourage our competitors and other large employers to join us.”
Lifting the wage for its workers, designed to tackle the firm’s critics head on, means Amazon UK will pay more than the current national minimum wage of £7.83 for workers over the age of 25. The new rate is also higher than the level recommended by the Living Wage Foundation of £8.75, or £10.20 in London.
The current minimum wage for UK Amazon workers is £8 an hour, meaning they will get a minimum increase in pay of 18%. The rise for London workers will be 28%.
The current lowest wage paid to US workers is $11 an hour, meaning the minimum rate will rise by 36%.
The company said the changes would apply for all workers, including those on full-time and part-time contracts, as well as seasonal staff and temporary workers hired by recruitment agencies.
Across the pond, Bernie Sanders has praised the approach of the Scottish Government, which recently cut public funding to the internet retail giant.
He said: “If Scotland can demand that Amazon get off corporate welfare and pay its workers a living wage, then so can the United States. The bottom line is Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world, should not be getting richer off the backs of taxpayers in any country while paying workers so little that they struggle to survive. We must keep fighting for workers everywhere.”