Published: Tue, October 02, 2018
Money | By Arnold Ball

Amazon to Raise Its Minimum U.S. Wage to $15 an Hour

More than 350,000 U.S. workers will see the minimum wage increase to $15 (£11.57) an hour, while nearly 40,000 United Kingdom workers will see their pay rise to £10.50 in London and £9.50 across the rest of the country.

The increase will apply from 1 November to all staff, full and part-time, as well as temporary and seasonal workers. The new wage will benefit more than 250,000 Amazon employees, plus over 100,000 seasonal employees who will be hired for the holidays.

Amazon isn't the only company making moves to raise wages for its employees. "The current rate of $7.25 was set almost a decade ago", said Jay Carney, Senior Vice President of Amazon Global Corporate Affairs.

Inside Amazon's Prime Now warehouse within a Manhattan highrise.

One of the most prominent critics has been US Sen.

CEO Jeff Bezos said the company had "listened to our critics".

This decision follows sustained pressure from Senator Bernie Sanders, who has attacked Amazon for how little it pays its workers, and introduced a bill in September entitled "Stop BEZOS," which would tax large companies whose low-wage employees rely on government assistance. Starting pay is $10 an hour at a warehouse in Austin, Texas, and $13.50 an hour in Robbinsville, New Jersey. The median pay for an Amazon employee a year ago was $28,446, according to government filings, which includes full-time, part-time and temporary workers.

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In two decades the company expanded far beyond its bookseller beginnings, combining its world-spanning retail operation with less flashy but very profitable advertising and cloud computing businesses.

All hourly US employees in operations and customer service jobs, including those who made more than $15 an hour, would receive a pay bump in November, a spokeswoman said. That's the fastest annual gain since the Great Recession ended.

Retailer Target Corp raised its minimum hourly wage last year to $11 and promised to raise it to $15 an hour by the end of 2020, while the world's largest retailer Walmart raised its minimum wage to $11 an hour earlier this year.

California announced in October 2017 it would raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2023.

But corporate profits in the US are booming, and that wealth isn't being spread out almost fast enough for many.

Employees of Whole Foods Market and all other Amazon subsidiaries are included in the wage increase. Mr Bezos said he encouraged the company's competitors to increase their own minimum wages.

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