As often reported before by Real Media, United Voices of the World is a powerful and effective grassroots union, mostly representing precarious workers in sectors where migrant workers are often exploited. Big companies use out-sourcing companies to hire cleaners, security guards and maintenance staff on poverty wages in poor working conditions, and UVW has had notable successes in gaining direct employment with better wages along with holiday and sickness rights. In June a series of co-ordinated strikes targeted several such employers around the capital, including Amazon – one of the richest corporations in the world.
Film by Pasqueline Agostinho
As explained by Francisco in our film, rather than negotiate over legitimate concerns, Amazon hires in new workers, cutting the hours and undermining the power of unionised workers.
This was further re-inforced in a speech we filmed at a protest outside the Amazon-sponsored LGBT awards last week. There we heard a statement from the GMB about Amazon’s tactics at a Coventry warehouse, where they took on large numbers of new staff in order to stall a unionisation bid. The GMB estimate they’ve been spending up to a million pounds a week on the ploy, more than union recognition and fair wages would actually cost, but they are prepared to lose this money rather than allow a precedent which could have repurcussions and hamper their exploitative techniques globally.
Amazon was just one of many corporate sponsors at the LGBT Awards – watch out for our coverage of the pink-washing protest awards coming soon.