BBC : Amazon raises wages for lower-paid workers

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Online retailing giant Amazon is raising pay for hundreds of thousands of workers in the US and the UK.

Amazon's lowest paid US workers will receive $15 an hour from 1 November. The Federal legal minimum is $7.25.

In the UK, workers will see a rise from £8.20 an hour in London to £10.50. Outside London the rate rises from £8 an hour to £9.50.

The legal minimum UK wage is £7.83 an hour for over-25s and £7.38 for those aged 21 to 24.

The move will benefit 250,000 workers in the US, 17,000 in the UK and tens of thousands of seasonal workers.

Union pressure

The increase coincides with a cross-US movement by retail unions to raise wages to a minimum of $15 an hour, the so-called "Fight for Fifteen" movement.

Already rival retailers have had to raise their wages. Target increased its minimum hourly wage last year to $11, with a pledge to lift it to $15 an hour by the end of 2020.

Walmart, the world's largest retailer and private employer, also raised its minimum wage to $11 an hour earlier this year.

Amazon's pay rise will apply to all staff, full and part-time, as well as temporary and seasonal workers.

The company also said it would press for a change to the US minimum wage level.

Amazon spokesman Jay Carney said: "We will be working to gain Congressional support for an increase in the federal minimum wage. The current rate of $7.25 was set nearly a decade ago."

The retailer also said it would phase out one of its share incentive schemes, adding that the "net effect of this change and the new higher cash compensation is significantly more total compensation for employees... and with more predictability".

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