Amazon accused of 'dirty tricks' as UK union withdraws recognition bid at strike-hit site

A union has accused Amazon of "dirty tricks" by hiring extra workers to stop its bid for official recognition at a warehouse hit by strikes.

The GMB, which said it had an 800-strong membership at the site in Coventry, claimed the tech firm had brought in more staff to effectively scupper the threshold it needed to secure full representation status.

At the time of application for union recognition, Amazon had 1,400 workers at the warehouse, the union believes.

But it said that the government's central arbitration committee had accepted a figure, provided by Amazon, of 2,700 staff.

The company, which has refused pay negotiations with the union, dismissed the claim.

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."

They added: "We respect our employees' rights to join, or not to join, a union.

"We offer competitive pay, comprehensive benefits, opportunities for career growth, all while working in a safe, modern, work environment.

"At Amazon, these benefits and opportunities come with the job, as does the ability to communicate directly with the leadership of the company."

The Coventry site, which does not provide customer-facing operations, became Amazon's first in the UK to witness walkouts in January.

The 300 workers involved at that time demanded a better rate of pay.

There have since been 14 days of action involving a greater number of staff.

Amazon is understood to have stated that the peak workforce at Coventry had exceeded 3,000 in the past.

The union is balloting members for industrial action at five other Amazon sites in the Midlands.

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Stuart Richards, GMB senior organiser, said on Thursday: "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."

"It's dirty tricks, plain and simple," he concluded.