Amazon has increased its minimum wage to £10.50 in the London area, and £9.50 for the rest of the UK whilst also raising all US wages. Founder and c.e.o. Jeff Bezos said the company had "listened to our critics" and "decided we want to lead" on the issue.
The new minimum wage for the e-retail giant comes into force on 1st November and includes full-time, part-time and seasonal staff, as well as those employed by temp agencies. This signals a 28% wage boost for operations staff in London going from £8.20 per hour to £10.50, with a 19% boost for the rest of the UK moving from £8 to £9.50.
The higher wages will affect 17,000 Amazon employees, as well as more than 20,000 seasonal holiday employees.
Amazon’s new UK minimum pay rates is more than 21% higher than the current national minimum wage of £7.83 for those over 25 (and £7.38 for those younger). The new rate is also higher than the rate recommended by the Living Wage Foundation of £8.75, or £10.20 in London.
Meanwhile across the US, staff will see their pay packets boosted to $15 (£11.57) from $11, compared to a federal minimum wage of $7.25 (£5.58) an hour.
Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and c.e.o., announced the measures as a means for incentivising change across the corporate world in a press statement issued by the company, reportedly worth $1 trillion (£0.7 trillion).
“We listened to our critics, thought hard about what we wanted to do, and decided we want to lead,” he said. “We’re excited about this change and encourage our competitors and other large employers to join us.”
Amazon’s public policy team will also begin advocating for an increase in the federal minimum wage in America, the company said.
“We will be working to gain Congressional support for an increase in the federal minimum wage. The current rate of $7.25 was set nearly a decade ago,” said Jay Carney, senior v.p. of Amazon Global Corporate Affairs. “We intend to advocate for a minimum wage increase that will have a profound impact on the lives of tens of millions of people and families across this country.”
The company has frequently been criticised in the past for its working conditions with Ambulances reportedly called out to Amazon’s UK warehouses more than 600 times in the last three years, according to an investigation.