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UK Amazon workers go on strike, citing working conditions and unfair pay

Yahoo Finance's Allie Garfinkle explains news that Amazon workers in the UK have begun striking and what it means for labor negotiations.

Video Transcript

RACHELLE AKUFFO: All right, well, Amazon's clashes with unions continues. Workers in the UK staging a daylong strike over wages and working conditions. The action marks the first time the e-commerce giant is seeing in that country. Here with more is Yahoo Finance's Alexandra Garfinkle. Hey, Allie, how are you?

ALLIE GARFINKLE: Good to see you, Rachelle. So the UK strike is expected to last 24 hours. It started at midnight. And it's important to say off the cuff that though this is the first strike we've seen in the UK, this didn't happen overnight. These workers in this Coventry warehouse have been very outspoken since last year about their working conditions. They've been working with the GMB Union, which is a general trade union in the UK. And this strike in particular, they actually voted for it at the end of last year.

So I think this shows the extent to which organizing at Amazon has really begun to have a playbook. And that playbook, of course, has been heavily influenced by the Amazon labor union. Its victory in Staten Island did change the game last year, simply by proving that it was possible.

Of course, if you're Amazon right now, this is a headache you don't want. You're coming into a very important earnings, one of the most high stakes earnings you've seen in a while. And this is just another distraction. This is something that is going to be playing out for them for a long time. And the fact it's coming to a head right now, I'm sure isn't exactly what they were hoping for.

RACHELLE AKUFFO: And investors really keeping an eye on the domino effect of some of the success that these unions have seen. Now this most recent strike action, though, indicating some momentum for unionization at Amazon. How are these efforts, though, positioned in 2023?

ALLIE GARFINKLE: That's a great question, Rachelle, because on one hand, there's momentum and you cannot overstate how important momentum is to a union effort. These efforts are massively benefit from momentum. And the fact that COVID changed things for workers, changed what they were willing to talk about, what they were willing to organize for is something that I think a lot of these unions and a lot of these efforts are still absolutely riding on.

On the other hand, you have Amazon, and you know they're going to fight unionization tooth and nail. And workers have this incredible task, then, of outlasting Amazon. Bargaining periods are already more than a year, about 465 days. And Amazon has shown, with the Amazon labor union's victory, that it will fight even certifying wins at all. So for workers who are even just waiting it out here, it's going to be a tall order in 2023.

RACHELLE AKUFFO: It certainly does seem to be an uphill battle, but seeing some success, though, at least for unions. Big thank you there, Allie Garfinkle.