Amazon Raises Minimum Wage To $15/Hour

Vermont Senator and former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has charged that Amazon pays its workers such a low wage that many of them have to apply for public assistance.

Amazon announced today it would raise its minimum wage for all U.S. employees to $15 per hour.

The company also said it would push to raise the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. The rise for London workers will be 28%.

"We listened to our critics, thought hard about what we wanted to do, and decided we want to lead", said CEO Jeff Bezos. "We're excited about this change and encourage our competitors and other large employers to join us".

Amazon has more than 20,000 employees in Texas and thousands will qualify for the wage increase. Last month it became the second publicly traded company to be worth $1 trillion, hot on the heels of Apple.

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It will impact more than 250,000 Amazon employees, plus more than 100,000 seasonal staff who work for Amazon over the holiday season. "The current rate of $7.25 was set almost a decade ago", Senior Vice President of Amazon Global Corporate Affairs Jay Carney said in a statement. Disney reached a deal with its unions to pay a minimum of $15 an hour at Disneyland in California in 2019 and at Disney World in Florida by 2021. And in January Walmart raised its starting wages to $11 per hour.

Last month, Amazon said that the average hourly wage for a full-time associate in its fulfillment centers was already more than $15 per hour.

Amazon made the announcement on a company blog this morning.

Workers have been protesting against fast food chains like McDonald's Corp and demanding wage increases since 2012 but conditions at Amazon's warehouses, distribution centers and for its couriers have been drawing media attention and criticism for some time.

Those in the United Kingdom will be paid £9.50, or £10.50 in London, compared to the minimum United Kingdom wage rate of £7.83 for over 25s and £7.38 for those aged 21 to 24.

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