Amazon raises wages for lower-paid workers

Amazon bumps US minumum wage to $15 amid tight labour market

Amazon bumps US minumum wage to $15 amid tight labour market

The new minimum wage affects full-time, part-time, and even temporary employees. The company said it also will start lobbying for an increase in the federal minimum wage, now at $7.25 an hour.

The size and explosive growth of Amazon give the decision importance far beyond the hundreds of thousands of people who will benefit directly.

The minimum wage hike at Amazon comes as it is searching for a home for its second USA headquarters, which will employ as many as 50,000 people.

The company, which bought Whole Foods Market in a $13.7 billion deal a year ago, opened a general store in New York City in September after launching a few small grocery shops known as Amazon Go in Seattle and Chicago.

Amazon has been under scrutiny by critics for less than ideal working conditions and has had its share of horror stories written by former employees.

Its founder, Jeff Bezos, is the world's richest man, with a fortune estimated at some $150bn.

The move follows a bump in minimum wage pay by fellow mega-retailers Walmart and Target.

It will have repercussions beyond retailers and will put pressure on any company that operates a distribution center, said Gerald Storch of the retail consulting firm Storch Advisors. Target, for example, plans to reach that figure by 2020, and Disneyland and Disney World by 2021.

"We will be working to gain Congressional support for an increase in the federal minimum wage".

The current UK minimum wage is £7.83 for workers over the age of 25 and the minimum wage now paid to UK Amazon workers is £8 an hour, meaning they will get a minimum increase in pay of 18%.

The announcement was enough to soothe one of Amazon's fiercest critics: Sen.

"Without a rise in wages, Amazon would be placing itself at a disadvantage in the labor market", Saunders said.

Saunders added that the decision was "politically savvy".

Amazon workers in the USA now make around $US11 an hour That will jump to $US15 next month.

Lawmakers and unions have been calling for change at big United States corporations, with Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders proposing legislation nicknamed the "Bezos Bill" aimed at making them pay workers more. It was offering at least $12.25 an hour in Omaha, Nebraska, $13 in Baltimore and $16.50 in NY, according to recent job postings. "Several people were getting released", Service Employees International Union President Mary Kay Henry told The Associated Press.

Coupled with the nationwide push to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, Amazon may have felt that sooner or later, it would have to increase wages anyway.

Chicago has raised its minimum wage gradually, from $8.25 an hour in 2015 to $12 in July. Last month, he introduced a bill that would impose a 100% tax equal to the amount of federal aid received by employees.

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