back to article US and UK Amazon workers get a wage hike – maybe they'll go to the movies, by themselves

Amazon, the target of a recently introduced bill called the Stop BEZOS Act, on Tuesday said it would raise the minimum wage for all its US workers to $15 an hour. The change takes effect November 1, 2018, and covers some 250,000 workers at Amazon and its Whole Foods subsidiary, along with 100,000 holiday employees brought on …

  1. Zmodem

    i get £21k for doing abit of cleaning, warehousing wage is'nt all it seems when you do the 4 days on 4 days off shifts

  2. fluffybunnyuk

    It sounds good but the London living wage is recalculated in November, and if it goes up like last year then it could stand at £10.60-£10.70.

    So it'd still be less then what they calculate you realistically need to earn as a minimum in London.

    So plenty of spin, not so much providing whats really required.

    1. Zmodem

      that all does'nt matter, when wages go up, national insurance goes up to match your extra earnings, even when they are already taking £400 a month, earn £1800 a month working in a warehouse without a forklift licence, and you end up with £1350 in the bank every month

  3. Keef

    I honestly don't know...

    How anyone could live in the south east of the UK, let alone London on £10.50/hour.

    People seem to manage it but it really can't be easy.

    But once we have Brexit will all the UK nationals currently sitting in McDonad's talking shit about foreigners taking 'their' jobs will be flocking to fill those low paid jobs recently vacated by hard working, reasonably satisfied (?) immigrants who have a good work ethic and have paid taxes which more than cover the 'drain on society' the fucktard burger eating lazy shits in Maccy D's talk about.

    I might t have gone off on a bit of a rant there at the end, and maybe at the beginning and middle too.

    If some grammar pedants want to have a go at me for a lack of punctuation feel free, I'll take it on the chin.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I honestly don't know...

      those low paid jobs recently vacated by hard working, reasonably satisfied (?) immigrants who have a good work ethic and have paid taxes

      Most of them are from countries outside the EU, so why should Brexit change anything? The UK is the second most-welcoming country in Europe for refugees (after Germany), even without Brussels attempts to dole out quotas.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: even without Brussels attempts to dole out quotas.

        OMG! How could they try and get everyone in the union to help! What a bunch of bastards!!!

        1. MyffyW Silver badge

          Re: even without Brussels attempts to dole out quotas.

          I, for one, am looking forward to our lonely island subsisting on herring and potatoes. Will certainly make Bake Off more of a challenge.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I honestly don't know...

        >The UK is the second most-welcoming country in Europe for refugees (after Germany), even without Brussels attempts to dole out quotas.

        Russia also has more immigrants than the UK - although only a small part of it in Europe (albeit the most populous parts).

      3. Nonymous Crowd Nerd

        Re: I honestly don't know...

        "The UK is the second most welcoming country..."

        Are you sure that's right? I thought Sweden was in first or second place. A reference would be interesting.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I honestly don't know...

          Are you sure that's right? I thought Sweden was in first or second place.

          As always with statistics you can bend them in many ways, I'll need to dig for where I found the info.

          Sweden gets a huge number of applicants (orders of magnitude more than other countries) so although they are in top place for numbers, they are near the bottom of the table as a percentage (under 2% IIRC). IIRC Germany accepted around 24% of applicants, the UK 23%, so near the top for %age of applications accepted. France, for example, took slighly more people than the UK, but as a percentage of more applicants they were lower, in the 18-20% level.

          There are other measures which consider how welcoming the population is of immigrants. Places like New Zealand score highly for that, the UK is in the top 3rd. Surprisingly (to me) places like Estonia and the Czech Republic are near the bottom.

      4. big_D Silver badge

        Re: I honestly don't know...

        The UK is the second most-welcoming country in Europe for refugees (after Germany), even without Brussels attempts to dole out quotas.

        Since when? The last quote from UK.gov I heard was that they had agreed to take on as many refugees over 2 years as the German state of Baden-Württemburg was taking on in a month!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I honestly don't know...

      Dey terk err jeeeerbs!!

    3. anothercynic Silver badge

      Re: I honestly don't know...

      Many live in shared houses or HMO... Others work multiple jobs. You won't believe how many people are run ragged by low wages.

      :-(

  4. russmichaels

    Re: "The former policy wonk -

    Not sure why Bezos is being congratulated, he only did this due to all the bad publicity and harassment he is getting for being a tight-ass and screwing his staff. If it wasn't for the Stop BEZOS Act, he wouldn't have upped anyone's salary.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: "The former policy wonk -

      He is doing this because:

      1, The <4% unemployment rate means otherwise he would only be getting the worst of the worst Xmas temp staff. You can normally deal with this by firing them but if it gets to Xmas eve and you have parcels to get out for same day delivery - hiring a 100,000 new bottom of the barrel employees in time is tricky.

      2, It screws Walmart. Amazon can gradually automate warehouses (eg Occado) but Walmart can't automate stores. If $15 becomes the defacto retail minimum wage - Walmart have 1.5M employees all year round.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "The former policy wonk -

        "1, The <4% unemployment rate means otherwise he would only be getting the worst of the worst Xmas temp staff"

        Anything to back up the first point? I thought, historically, Amazon had benefited from CamperForce (https://www.wired.com/story/meet-camperforce-amazons-nomadic-retiree-army/) and other retired workers looking for seasonal work.

  5. Winkypop Silver badge
    Facepalm

    The American disease

    FFS: "federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour"

    $15 an hours aint too good either.

    Disgusting.

    I'm glad I'm exiting the workplace soon.

    The great wage-swindle, that is the 21st century, can get in the sea.

  6. Drew Scriver

    What's the net benefit to workers?

    According to Sanders, the goal of the bill is to eliminate government subsidies to workers due to low wages. A bit surprising since Sanders is on the far left of the political spectrum. He must be torn between sticking it to Bezos et al and doling out other people's money.

    However, once the wages are increased to $15 an hour many workers will no longer qualify for many taxpayer-supplied payments from the government - exactly as intended by Sanders' bill.

    While this is a good thing, the article misses the mark by failing to report whether the pay increase will in fact result in a (significant) net benefit for Bezos' army. I highly doubt it will.

    1. Dog Eatdog

      Re: What's the net benefit to workers?

      That will depend on each worker's individual circumstances. I would imagine a single, childless person would not be qualified for many benefits so will get most of the pay rise. It may differ for those with dependants.

    2. tiggity Silver badge

      Re: What's the net benefit to workers?

      Main point is to stop government subsidising companies who pay very low wages - which was essentially what was happening. Employer pays very low wage (so saves on costs), tax payers cash goes to essentially top up employees bad wage via benefits system, whereas if employer pays a decent wage, the employee no longer needs handouts from tax payer, so tax can be spent on something else.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What's the net benefit to workers?

        I suspect government subsidies were meant to help smaller businesses compete, but the subsidies ended being up abused by larger businesses.

        Rather than ditch the subsidies they should set a cap on the size of business that qualifies for subsidy.

    3. anothercynic Silver badge

      Re: What's the net benefit to workers?

      No, Sanders is not for "just doling out other people's money". What Sanders is for is a fair wage without necessarily having to rely on the government to keep your head above water because your shyster of a boss is paying you just about enough to get away from any legislation that could cost him more in fines & reputation. Where he *will* "dole out other people's money" is when people do end up needing assistance from the government (like losing your job, needing healthcare) or for something that universally leaves society better off (like free education). It doesn't mean irresponsibility.

      Paying employees a decent wage so they don't need to rely on government handouts makes perfect sense. They will pay their taxes, they will be net contributors to society and the economy, and the government can spend what they save on their handouts on better things (education, not the slush fund that's called the DoD). ;-)

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: What's the net benefit to workers?

        Now I'm confused. If Sanders is a dirty rotten commie why does this policy sound like Thatcherism ?

        1. LucreLout Silver badge

          Re: What's the net benefit to workers?

          Now I'm confused. If Sanders is a dirty rotten commie why does this policy sound like Thatcherism ?

          Because on a left / right scale, the American democrats are way further right than the Conservatives under Thatcher. The Republicans more so.

        2. Mark Dempster

          Re: What's the net benefit to workers?

          >Now I'm confused. If Sanders is a dirty rotten commie why does this policy sound like Thatcherism ?<

          You ARE confused. It's Thatcherism (and its US counterpart Reaganomics) that has led to the situation where large corporations are effectively receiving state benefits rather than individuals.

      2. Palladium

        Re: What's the net benefit to workers?

        Good luck explaining to the average Americans on how a proper welfare net actually saves money in the long run because that sick pauper left to dry is going to hit the expensive hospital A&Es much more often because he has no money to get minor aliments treated in time etc...Because they lack any intellectual capacity or curiosity to take in anything other than dumbed down political buzzword of the week.

    4. MyffyW Silver badge

      Re: What's the net benefit to workers?

      Sanders is a Left-Liberal or (in European terms) a Social Democrat. That's certainly a bit left wing but "far left" is pushing it.

      Saying he's keen on "doling out other people's money" misses the point - the state already does just that when private industry privatises profit but nationalises loss.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: What's the net benefit to workers?

        Saying he's keen on "doling out other people's money" misses the point - the state already does just that when private industry privatises profit but nationalises loss.

        It's a little more complicated than that. Losses by mining or manufacturing (except aerospace) aren't paid back - only finance, and farming.

    5. Mark Dempster

      Re: What's the net benefit to workers?

      >According to Sanders, the goal of the bill is to eliminate government subsidies to workers due to low wages. A bit surprising since Sanders is on the far left of the political spectrum. He must be torn between sticking it to Bezos et al and doling out other people's money.<

      I think you've misunderstood his motivation. The point is that the state is currently subsidising companies that COULD afford to pay a living wage, by topping up the wages of their employees. State welfare is a great thing to have in society, but it should be there to help the individuals that need it - not to reduce the wage bills of multinational companies.

      We have the same issue over here in the UK; I don't know how the figures compare in the states, but in the UK the MAJORITY of our benefits payments are made to people who are actually in work - not to the 'scroungers' that the right-wing media like to demonise. The Labour party have a similar living wage proposal to Sanders', so hopefully the problem will be addressed before too long...

  7. markr555

    I Say!

    London AND the UK, how happy London wlil be to have been included twice.

    1. markr555

      Re: I Say!

      hmmm - do the downvoters not know that London is IN the UK, or am I somehow missing the upset and controversy my fact-based post has caused?

    2. not.known@this.address Bronze badge
      Trollface

      Re: I Say!

      "the rest of" the UK is inferred even if not explicitly stated.

      1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: I Say!

        Implied, not inferred.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Calm before the storm perhaps?

    And next week the great god Amazon taketh away but putting all their UK warehouse workers on Zero hour contracts and starting to roll out full automation to their warehouses. Soon there will be only around 50 staff on Amazon's books in the UK and they'll pay even less tax than they do now.

    Win-win for Bezos and co...

    Stop using Amazon before they wipe out all other retailers. If that happens then you have only yourselves to blame and you will have to pay their inflated prices wether you like it or not.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Calm before the storm perhaps?

      Yeah, use eBay instead. Direct imports from China, no UK taxes or jobs.

    2. Ragarath

      Re: The Calm before the storm perhaps?

      If someone would like to step up and provide the service I get from Amazon, then yes I'll stop using them. Until then I will not.

      In before shouty people: No I do not use Amazon exclusively, I use other retailers but when all else fails Amazon usually fulfills.

      1. Jon 37

        Re: The Calm before the storm perhaps?

        > If someone would like to step up and provide the service I get from Amazon, then yes I'll stop using them. Until then I will not.

        Agree completely.

        You'd think nowadays Internet shops could provide a guaranteed delivery date that's next-working-day or 2 working days. And provide easy, hassle-free returns. But so many don't do that. Fulfilled-by-Amazon usually does. So they get my business.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The Calm before the storm perhaps?

          Agreed. The only way they could achieve this was by revolutionising logistics.

          Im not sure about outside the EU, but within the EU most logistics firms are incredibly old fashioned.

          Go and visit a bunchbof firms around Colnbrook outside Heathrow...you'll discover hand written documentation, fax machines and single phone offices are still a thing.

          For the logistics industry, time stopped in 1975.

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: The Calm before the storm perhaps?

            >For the logistics industry, time stopped in 1975.

            So will be able to switch seamlessly into the pre-Eu world, post-Eu

          2. Keef

            Re: The Calm before the storm perhaps?

            It was a while ago but I had to go down to UPS near LHR to collect a delivery as tax was due.

            They offered me the option of paying cash or card.

            I chose card.

            They told me the card machine was broken so I'd have to pay cash.

            I really hate UPS, it seems others do too.

            https://uk.trustpilot.com/review/ups-uk.com

            They might be OK in the US, I have no idea, but the USPS do seem to come in for a bit of stick so they might still be crap but better than the alternative, Just guessing on that.

            But in my area they are useless and I don't order from companies that use UPS for delivery and I always contact them know why they've lost my custom.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: The Calm before the storm perhaps?

              But in my area they are useless and I don't order from companies that use UPS for delivery

              Useless in France too. I live in the sticks, and usually get "returned, unable to find address" rejections from UPS together with timestamps that show the package was returned to the depot less than an hour after it left. Even if they drove at the speed limit all the time, it would take them at least an hour just to get to my house from the depot, so the drivers obviously don't even try once they see they have to leave the city boundaries.

              It would greatly help if sellers on Amazon would list their shippers, then I could avoid the ones that use UPS and save us both time & money.

      2. Keef

        Re: The Calm before the storm perhaps?

        I agree,

        My latest waste of money was a '24 hour' watch:

        https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07GBSF8MS/ref=pe_3187911_189395841_TE_dp_1

        Not readily/reliably available outside of Amazon.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is a Good thing for the workers.

    I know people who work for one of the companies "next door" to an Amazon depot who also have large warehousing operations.

    When they found out about the pay increase that was coming "Many" of them upped sticks and took a new position. This made the other business match Amazon's pay so they could meet the Christmas deadlines and retain staff. Other "Low skill" jobs in the same area have also started to see decent pay increases as well.

    Who'd have thought paying workers more is a way of getting staff.

    Anon Obviously

  10. Neil 44
    Childcatcher

    Living wage?

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-45559456

    says "A salary of £51,200 is needed to "afford" to rent a one-bed London home."

  11. codejunky Silver badge

    Hmm

    How is it that a pay rise can have so many comments complaining? There are 2 ways to look at this-

    1) Full employment leading to that desired natural growth in wages.

    2) Pressured into raising wages people will lose jobs.

    As for people complaining about amazon, just dont use them if you think they are so bad. If enough of you feel that way then things will end up changing.

  12. Big Al 23

    I still find it odd...

    ...that in Amazon order processing centers in the U.S. that they fail to have or use air conditioning when the temps are very hot. Heat exhaustion is dangerous and it lowers productivity dramatically.

  13. Nonymous Crowd Nerd

    The pay rise in the US is really significant - 36% for some people and 250,000 benefiting overall. That's much larger than the equivalent change here.

    Huge credit must to Bernie Sanders and the clever piece of legislation he is suggesting. It proposes that for companies whose employees claim benefits, the employer should have to compensate the state directly for those benefits. I hope it also proposed a public register of companies doing this as a hall of infamy.

    Who is championing the equivalent legislation in the UK? I suspect, nobody.

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      The UK already has a slightly more reasonable minimum wage, so there's less pressure.

      Plus everyone's still running around with their hands in the air because of brexit.

    2. Robert Sneddon

      Bernie Sanders

      The legislation he was proposing wouldn't have survived the process of being turned into law, like most proposed legislation does. Bernie's legislative record as a long-term Washington insider (30 years a Senator) is pitiful. It looked good though, as many things do from a distance.

      I've worked in an Amazon warehouse in the past -- the fulfilment side of things was staffed by a few long-term employees usually acting as foremen and team leaders training and supervising workers, the rest were folks who weren't going to be there three months later because it wasn't a career for them, just something to make some money from (and to keep the DWP off their backs for a bit). I stayed for a couple of weeks and bailed because the commute became impossible due to a road bridge being shut for emergency repairs but I'd not have been there myself in three months time regardless.

      It doesn't pay well because it's not a demanding job, intellectually or otherwise and the staffing requirements are a race to the bottom. It does provide paid work for a lot of folks who would struggle in other roles for various reasons, at least until the robots take over. The extra money will be nice though.

    3. Mark Dempster

      >Who is championing the equivalent legislation in the UK? I suspect, nobody.<

      The labour party is aiming to bring in a £10 minimum wage when it regains power, and to do away with zero hour contracts.

  14. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

    Quick reminder

    Amazon doesn't need its retail ops any more, AWS makes more than enough money on its own.

  15. Tom Servo

    maybe they'll go to the movies, by themselves

    "Half of that was from me" - Mark Bezos

  16. TheFinn

    PORK BELLIES!

  17. cray74 Silver badge

    How to pay for $15/hour?

    According to a cousin who works at Amazon - so this is a sample-of-one anecdote - Amazon took out a restricted stock reward to pay for the raise, but most Amazon associates don't hit 2 years for them to get the stock reward anyway.

    So, can anyone confirm that Amazon was cutting stock rewards to pay for higher wages?

    1. SuperGeek

      Re: How to pay for $15/hour?

      I can confirm the RSU's are being replaced in favour of pay rise. I work at the new robotic MAN3 site in Bolton :)

  18. WYSIWYG650

    Brilliant move but more is needed

    With most of the Amazon fortune amusing at top, keeping your workers off public assistance is the very least they can do.(this will not quite do that) As much as I would like to think this was a feel good moral decision, I am reminded that we are in a very tight labor market going in to xmas and Amazon is looking and acting like Walmart more and more each day. Smart of them regardless of the motivation.

  19. Flywheel Silver badge
    WTF?

    I hope all this doesn't delay the completion of Jeff's $42,000,000 10,000 year mountain clock!

    Priorities chaps! Priorities!

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