Activists in Lincoln staged a protest outside the cathedral on Wednesday, calling out big tech company Amazon for poor treatment of staff.
Unite, the largest union in Britain, held the protest outside Lincoln Cathedral at 11am on Wednesday, May 26, coinciding with the Amazon shareholders meeting.
Activists unveiled banners outside the cathedral in an attempt to highlight Amazon’s reported association with anti-union tactics and ill treatment of their staff members.
Six members from the East Midlands area of Unite attended the protest, which lasted little more than five minutes to showcase the banner.
Michael Till, Andy Hughes, Bogdan Idasiak, Diane Williams, Sam Luczynski and Lee Wilson (right to left) took part in the Lincoln Cathedral rally.
The event calls on the $314 billion company to sign up to a declaration of neutrality, allowing for all Amazon workers to have the freedom to talk with and form a union without fear of losing their jobs.
It also demands that Amazon respect labour rights around the world, after the New York Times reported that the company was spending $10,000 a day for anti-union consultants to combat workers at an Alabama warehouse who were considering unionising.
Part of the action taken by Unite includes launching a confidential whistle-blowing hotline, allowing Amazon workers to expose any poor treatment at the company, free from reprisals, by calling 08000 141461.
Unite executive officer Sharon Graham said: “Whether it’s the UK, Cambodia, Bangladesh or the USA, Amazon is associated with anti-union tactics and poor treatment. It’s time for Amazon’s shareholders to demand action to deliver better rights for Amazon workers.
“Workers and campaigners for social justice are in a battle with Amazon on a global scale to protect workers’ rights. It’s a battle that we are determined win, the alternative is the continued global race to the bottom.
“Unite has recently written to Jeff Bezos in response to claims from the company about respecting UK workers’ rights to join and form a union. Our union is calling on the company to make a clear commitment and sign up to a declaration of neutrality.”
A spokesperson for Amazon UK responded to the protest, saying: “We respect our employees’ right to join, form, or not to join a labour union or other lawful organisation of their own selection, without fear of reprisal, intimidation, or harassment.
“Across Amazon, including in our fulfilment centres, we place enormous value on having daily conversations with each associate and work to make sure direct engagement with our employees is a strong part of our work culture.
“The fact is, we already offer excellent pay, excellent benefits and excellent opportunities for career growth, all while working in a safe, modern work environment. The unions know this.”