GMB accuses Amazon of bumping up staff numbers as it withdraws bid for official union

The GMB has withdrawn its attempt to win formal union recognition at Amazon’s Coventry warehouse, accusing the firm of drafting in more than 1,000 extra workers to skew the decision.

GMB members at the site made a formal request for recognition to the independent central arbitration committee (CAC) last month after a recruitment drive for members that it believed took it past the necessary threshold of support.

Workers at the depot, known as BHX4, have held a series of strike days since January. The GMB says membership has more than quadrupled to 800, which it said comfortably represented more than half of the 1,400 staff it estimated to be working at the site and enough to prompt the CAC to grant statutory recognition.

But GMB members working at Amazon Coventry claim the warehouse has been “flooded” with up to 1,000 new starters since the strike action began.

Stuart Richards, GMB Senior Organiser, said: ”Amazon has refused to pay workers a decent wage, but are now paying an additional 1,300 workers to try and bust the union.

“We estimate that’s more than £300,000 a week – just to stop workers having a voice in their workplace.

“This is more than it would cost to pay the original workforce the £15 an hour they were asking for.

“GMB has expressed serious concerns to the CAC both about the accuracy of the information Amazon has given to the committee.

“While we have no alternative but to withdraw the application for statutory recognition, but we’re not going away.

“GMB members at Amazon are not giving up the fight for a wage they can live off and they won’t give up the fight for union recognition.”

But Amazon said that any hiring that had taken place at BHX4 was the result of normal business requirements.

A spokesperson said: “At Amazon, we regularly recruit new team members, across the country and across the year, providing great new career opportunities for thousands of people and to meet customer demand. This year is no different.”

Further strike action at Amazon Coventry will take place on 12, 13 and 14 of June.