Workplace Report July 2023

Recruitment and organisation news

Union alleges dirty tricks

The GMB general union has accused Amazon of “dirty tricks” to scupper its bid for statutory recognition at the retail giant’s Coventry warehouse.

The union had put in a claim for recognition to the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) after recruiting 800 workers (see Workplace Report June 2023). The company had earlier claimed it employed 1,400 staff there, which would have meant the union had built up a crucial majority in membership.

At the time of the claim, GMB senior organiser Amanda Gearing warned that Amazon would be likely to “flood the warehouse with more workers so [that] the numbers are different”. GMB now considers that this is exactly what happened as, “after GMB submitted a request for recognition, Amazon went on a massive recruitment drive”.

Indeed, the company told the CAC it now had 2,700 workers, and this was accepted by the CAC. The union was effectively forced to withdraw its claim, as to proceed and lose would have barred it from re-applying for three years.