Amazon raises minimum wage to $15 after criticism

03 October, 2018, 02:31 | Author: Sheri Evans
  • The increase pushes Amazon's lowest wage above that at Walmart Inc and Target Corp

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said the company - valued at almost $1 trillion - was heeding complaints about its pay structure.

It's a serious shift away from the strained relationship between the two, as Sanders has previously bashed Amazon for its working conditions, the company claiming his portrayal of its treatment of employees was "inaccurate and misleading".

The wage increase will come into effect from 1 November and will effect more than 17,000 workers in the United Kingdom and more than 20,000 seasonal temps and agency workers, who will also receive the higher wage.

Amazon's founder and CEO is encouraging other companies to follow their lead. This move is likely an attempt to calm down lawmakers and get them to change tunes, as Sander's plan was to "give large, profitable employers a choice: Pay workers a living wage or pay for the public assistance programs their low-wage employees are forced to depend upon". "The current rate of $7.25 was set almost a decade ago", said Jay Carney, senior vice president of Amazon global corporate affairs.

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Even more importantly, Amazon says it will begin advocating for an increase in the Federal minimum wage.

Amazon has recently been targeted over its pay by Senator Bernie Sanders, who last month introduced a less-than-subtly-named piece of legislation called the Stop Bad Employers by Zering Out Subsidies-"Stop BEZOS"-Act". The retail giant, run by the world's richest man, was criticized earlier this year after revealing its workers' median pay was $28,446. Amazon has almost 600,000 employees - many of them working in package warehouses, the company's chain of Whole Foods grocery stores and other places with large numbers of hourly wage workers.

The hourly rate increase has no impact on the benefits Amazon already offers workers.

Amazon, whose value topped an awesome $1 trillion in September, has been under political and economic pressure to pay its employees more.

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Amazon has "listened to its critics" and drastically increased pay for 37,000 British workers. It represents a raise to about US$30,000 a year for a full-time worker, 20 per cent above the federal poverty level for a family of four.

Workers across the country have pushed for a $15 minimum wage. It has faced stinging criticism of its labour practices, including grueling working conditions and lack of job security. That will include more than 250,000 full time employees and 100,000 seasonal workers.

Amazon fought back against Sanders' claims, calling them "inaccurate and misleading", in a rare blog-post response.

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