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As Black Friday lures in eager shoppers, hundreds of Amazon employees have taken to striking amidst an ongoing pay dispute, marking one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

At the Coventry site of the retail giant, members of the GMB union have rallied on the picket line, escalating the labor dispute with their employer.

This strike is part of a larger movement spanning Europe and the US, representing what unions describe as the most extensive walkout in Amazon's history.

Despite the industrial action, Amazon assured that customer services would remain unaffected.

The Coventry employees, who initiated industrial action back in January, have now been joined by around 1,000 workers, with nearly 800 actively participating in the strike.

While Amazon recently announced plans to raise its minimum starting pay up to £13 an hour by April, contingent on location, the GMB Union insists on a minimum rate of £15 per hour, coupled with improved working conditions.

Stuart Richards, GMB's senior organizer, declared Amazon's offer insufficient and emphasized the workers' right to better remuneration from a corporation profiting substantially.

"Today marks a global wake-up call for Amazon. They cannot overlook the concerns of these workers, not just in Coventry, but across their warehouses worldwide," Richards stated at the Coventry picket line.

The union has mobilized workers in five countries, including Germany, the US, and Italy, amplifying their unified demand for improved pay and working standards.

Amazon defended its remuneration policies, highlighting regular wage reviews to ensure competitiveness. The company stated its incremental wage rise over the years, emphasizing benefits, a positive work environment, and growth opportunities as drivers for employment at Amazon.

This strike coincides with Chancellor Jeremy Hunt's recent announcement of an impending hike in the National Living Wage. While Amazon's current pay scale surpasses this figure and even exceeds the voluntary Real Living Wage outside London, the company remains at odds with the demands voiced by the union. Photo by Joe Mabel, Wikimedia commons.