Amazon raises minimum wage for British and American staff

Amazon raises minimum wage for US and UK employees
Amazon increases its minimum wage to $15
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03 October, 2018

The Amazon employees seeing a bump in pay include full-time, part-time, workers employed by temp agencies, as well as seasonal positions.

"We listened to our critics, thought hard about what we wanted to do, and decided we want to lead", said Amazon's founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, as the company announced the new pay scale Tuesday.

Doug Gurr, Amazon vice-president and UK Country Manager, said: "We're excited to announce we are raising our minimum wage for employees from November 1".

Bezos via Twitter thanked Sanders for the acknowledgement and said he hoped other companies would join in. The fact that ordinary workers have seen barely any meaningful growth in wages in the past four decades, while executive pay continues to grow at a steady rate, reflects many issues in the way that modern companies operate. Last month, he introduced a bill that would impose a 100% tax equal to the amount of federal aid received by employees.

Pay for warehouse workers at Amazon can vary by location.

Sanders congratulated Bezos in a statement Tuesday for "doing exactly the right thing" and urged other companies to do the same.

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Sanders also tweeted out his support for Bezos, receiving a message of gratitude back from the CEO. Average hourly wages for retail workers, excluding managers, rose 4 percent in August compared with 12 months earlier. Target and Walmart have made similar moves. "If you are profiting from changes in the economy, we need to make sure that everyone in this country has a stake in that economy". The mean hourly wage for non-management workers in transportation and warehousing is $21.94. "(It's a) smart move to win consumers and lawmakers", said Gene Munster, a venture capitalist at Loup Ventures and long-time tech analyst. Target is aiming to pay at least $15 to every employee by 2020.

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Amazon, which became the second company after Apple to cross $1 trillion in market value last month, now pays around $11 per hour.

The authors stress that, while they can identify workers exiting minimum wage status, they cannot assess the extent to which those individuals are also exiting low-paid employment.

Bezos apparently took the suggestion, saying that not only should other companies follow his lead, but that the federal government should also raise the minimum wage.

The company has a history of complaints about gruelling workplace conditions and lower wages, and has had to deal with lawsuits, picketing and issues with management tactics.

Amazon fought back against Sanders' claims, calling them "inaccurate and misleading", in a rare blog-post response. Worker paychecks are one area where Amazon is vulnerable to criticism, particularly as the company's market value hovers around the symbolic $1 trillion stratosphere.

The company called the accusations by Sanders "false and misleading", pointing to its creation of 130,000 new jobs over the past year.

Low-paid workers "get kicked the most in the recession, and they generally benefit more later in the boom", said David Neumark, an economist at University of California, Irvine.

"This is going to be a big deal for very low-wage workers", said Ben Zipperer, an economist at the liberal Economic Policy Institute.


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