15 December: The Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB)’s Couriers and Logistics Branch voted yesterday to integrate Amazon Flex delivery workers. The branch already organises Deliveroo, Stuart, and UberEats delivery workers. Amazon Flex uses ‘gig economy’ workers to fulfil its Prime delivery service.
The announcement follows the global Make Amazon Pay campaign led by Progressive International which began on Black Friday. The IWGB adds its support to the campaign and its Common Demands, which is backed by an international coalition of trade unions, climate change groups and other grassroots organisations.
Amazon Flex delivery workers are amongst the key workers for whom the IWGB is mounting its #ClappedAndScrapped campaign for basic workers’ rights, minimum wage and fair terminations process. Through Christmas and beyond, Amazon Flex and other couriers will continue to risk their lives as key workers without any right to annual leave, sick pay or trade union representation, often for sub-minimum wage and with the threat of inadequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and unfair termination with no due process.
Alex Marshall, IWGB President and former courier, says: “Corporate profits have skyrocketed through the pandemic while workers’ rights have taken a huge hit so it’s no wonder that we’re seeing a surge in membership as people realise now more than ever they need to be in a union to defend their rights, health and safety at work. Our union’s strength lies in our grassroots leaders and our willingness to fight tooth and nail for each other. We don’t shy away from challenging corporate giants and we’ll be empowering Amazon Flex workers to do just that.”
Greg Howard, chair, IWGB Couriers & Logistics Branch, says: “Our union made its name by ‘organising the unorganisable’ and going toe to toe with corporate giants in a way that only an independent, member-led union can. This is the season for coming together and what better way to celebrate that than by coming together to take on Amazon?”
Marc Jelly, Amazon Flex worker and chair, IWGB Couriers & Logistics Branch (Wales) says: “The unrepresented underdogs of the ‘gig economy’ linking forces with the IWGB is a massive achievement and Amazon Flex workers are seizing the opportunity to fight back with our union behind us. Flex Couriers are done working for poverty pay to make Jeff Bezos the richest man in the world. Time to make Amazon Pay.”
David Adler, General Coordinator of Progressive International, says: “In one day in July Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos made more than 10bn US Dollars. Meanwhile ‘gig economy’ workers around the world have faced health risks and worsening conditions during this pandemic and the economic crisis that it has exacerbated. Our campaign to Make Amazon Pay, as well as the IWGB’s integration of Amazon Flex workers, are all part of a grassroots global movement responding to the damage and injustice that this corporation thrives on.”
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