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Amazon Black Friday strike: Workers in Coventry to walk out as part of international action against retailer | Business News

Amazon workers in the UK are to go on strike today to coincide with Black Friday – one of the company’s busiest shopping days of the year.

More than 1,000 staff at the firm’s warehouse in Coventry are expected to take part in the walkout, the GMB union said, amid a long-running dispute over pay and conditions.

The online retail giant has insisted customers will not be affected by the industrial action.

A protest will also be held outside Amazon UK’s head office in London, while coordinated strikes and demonstrations will be held in other European countries and the US as well.

Unions say it will be the biggest day of industrial action in Amazon’s history.

The company recently announced it would be increasing the minimum starting pay to up to £13 an hour for staff, depending on location, from next April.

But the GMB has called for a rate of at least £15 an hour, and better conditions, as staff struggle with the cost of living crisis.

GMB official Amanda Gearing, said: “Today will go down as a turning point in Amazon’s history. Working people who make Amazon’s business model possible stand up to demand their share of the company’s enormous wealth.

“Despite that, Amazon bosses are desperate to claim it will be business as usual for Amazon and their customers this Black Friday.”

Ms Gearing added: “The truth is that today will see the largest day of industrial disruption in Amazon’s history.

“With industrial action escalating and workers joining strike action in Europe and the USA, it’s clear this strike is inspiring Amazon workers worldwide to fight to force the company to change its ways.”

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Sky’s report from January on Amazon workers staging their first UK strike

An Amazon spokesperson said: “There will be no disruption to customers.

“We regularly review our pay to ensure we offer competitive wages and benefits.

“By April 2024, our minimum starting pay will have increased to £12.30 and £13 per hour depending on location, that’s a 20% increase over two years and 50% since 2018.”

They added: “We also work hard to provide great benefits, a positive work environment and excellent career opportunities.

“These are just some of the reasons people want to come and work at Amazon, whether it’s their first job, a seasonal role or an opportunity for them to advance their career.”

It marks the 28th day of strike action to hit Amazon in the UK since the start of the year.

‘Dangerous’ Nottingham child rapist caught after police officer noticed his distinctive walk | UK News

A child rapist who was caught after a police officer noticed his distinctive walk has been jailed.

Shane Nash attacked the teenager as she walked home from a bus stop in Nottingham in January.

The 39-year-old grabbed the victim from behind in an alleyway and dragged her into nearby undergrowth, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.

Nash bound his victim and covered her mouth with tape before attacking her, threatening to stab her if she told anyone.

The girl went home “dishevelled and in considerable distress” and told her mother, who called the police, the CPS said.

Parts of the attack and footage of Nash were captured on CCTV and shared by Nottinghamshire Police as part of a public appeal for information.

Nash was arrested two days after the attack when he was spotted by an officer who noticed his “distinctive walking style and his high, square shoulders”.

“It soon became clear that he was also wearing the same clothes and distinctive grey trainers he was wearing at the time of the attack,” the police force said.

“Further damming evidence was found when officers searched his bag and uncovered a black beanie hat and red sleeping bag referred to by the victim.”

Nash, formerly of Bestwood in Nottingham, pleaded guilty to rape and attempted rape in March.

On Wednesday, he was sentenced to life in prison at Nottingham Crown Court by Judge Nirmal Shant KC, who told him he must serve a minimum of 15 years in jail.

Nash was also added to the sex offenders’ register for life and made the subject of a lifelong restraining order preventing him from contacting the victim by any means.

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Detective Inspector Craig Hall, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “This was a horrific crime that shocked and appalled the local community.

“The victim in this case was simply walking home as she was grabbed and attacked. She is traumatised by what happened and this is likely to have a lasting impact upon her and her family.

“She has shown remarkable courage and dignity throughout the legal process and my thoughts are very much with her today.

“Nash’s behaviour, by contrast, has been appalling throughout. He has shown absolutely no remorse for what he did and continued to deny the offence even when presented with incontrovertible evidence of his guilt.”

Matt Evans, senior crown prosecutor for the CPS East Midlands, added the “violent and merciless” nature of the attack was reflected in the “significant” jail term.

Ukrainians recite ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ lyrics in powerful film to mark first anniversary of war | World News

The lyrics of “You’ll Never Walk Alone” have been recited by Ukrainian people in a powerful film to mark the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion.

The one-minute video released by the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) shows the devastation unleashed by Vladimir Putin’s war, with millions unable to return to their homeland after being forced to flee.

It begins with a black screen and the caption: “Ukraine. February. 2023.” A cast of actors still living in Ukraine then recite lines from the anthemic Gerry and the Pacemakers song, over music by German-born British composer and pianist Max Richter.

A young boy, seen sitting on a swing in front of a hollow tower block, delivers the iconic line: “And don’t be afraid of the dark, at the end of a storm.”

The footage, shot this month, also shows a boy in a bomb shelter, a doctor in a hospital, a couple and a dog owner outside their homes, and a woman and child sitting on a bus.

Entitled “Never Alone”, it was made by a predominantly Ukrainian crew and directed using a remote camera.

Although the people featured in the film are actors, they represent real stories of people who have been helped by DEC charities.

The video ends with a black screen saying: “The UK raised over £400 million so the people of Ukraine didn’t walk alone” and images of aid workers who travelled to the country to offer help.

The DEC’s Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal has raised £414m since launching on 3 March 2022, including £25m donated by the government through the UK Aid Match scheme.

A woman and girl seen in the film
Image:
A woman and girl seen in the film

In the first six months of the response alone, aid delivered using DEC funds included (but was not limited to):

  • 1.9 million people provided with access to clean water
  • 392,000 people who received food assistance, including hot meals and food parcels
  • 338,000 people who received cash payments to meet their basic needs
  • 127,000 people who accessed basic services at transit centres for the displaced
  • 71,000 people who accessed primary healthcare services
  • 114,000 people who received legal help and support
  • 10,000 people who were provided with temporary accommodation

Read more:
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A couple sitting outside what remains of their home
Image:
A couple sitting outside what remains of their home
A dog owner standing outside his proprty
Image:
A dog owner standing outside his property

Film director Rick Dodds said: “This film is a time capsule of Ukraine in February 2023 – exactly one year since the conflict began.

“We cast Ukrainian people still living there – so that we could capture their resilience, their strength, and their Ukrainian stoicism for all to see.

“The poetic words of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ then took on a different power when delivered by this cast in such dramatic and real locations.

“For example, a woman stood outside her house that has been blown apart saying ‘though your dreams be tossed and blown’. Or a young boy in a bomb shelter saying ‘with hope in your heart’.”

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DEC director of fundraising and marketing, Simon Beresford, hailed the “incredible generosity” of the British public.

“We’re really proud of the fact that we could work with a Ukrainian cast and crew to make this film,” he said.

“Choosing to shoot it in Ukraine added layers of complication to the project, but we think has made it much more authentic and impactful.

“Everyone who worked on the film in Ukraine has been affected in some way by the conflict and their creative input has been invaluable to the project.”

Train strikes set to cause widespread travel misery as drivers walk out for second time this week | UK News

Rail passengers are facing fresh travel chaos today as train drivers hold another strike leaving large parts of the country with no services all day.

Members of Aslef and the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) will walk out in a long-running dispute over pay and conditions.

Operators said there would be severe disruption, with trains that do run due to start later and finish much earlier than usual – typically between 7.30am and 6.30pm.

Saturday morning services are also expected to be affected.

Read more:
Who is going on strike and when?

The rail industry has criticised the rejection of an offer which would give drivers an 8% pay rise over two years, taking average salaries up from nearly £60,000 a year, to almost £65,000.

Simon Weller, assistant general secretary of Aslef, said the dispute was going “backwards” because of the lack of progress in months of talks.

“I don’t know whether to point the finger of blame at the ineptitude of the Department for Transport or the Rail Delivery Group.

“We would struggle to recommend a deal of a 4% pay rise for last year and 4% this year if there were no conditions attached, but we are being asked to give up collective bargaining and effectively agree to a no-strike deal.

“Obviously it was going to be rejected – it was designed to fail.”

A spokesperson for the Rail Delivery Group said: “To minimise the impact of the Aslef action, we advise passengers to check before they travel, allow extra time and find out when their first and last train will depart.”

It will be the second strike by train drivers this week, after they took part in the huge day of industrial action on Wednesday.

Other professions who walked out included teachers, university staff, civil servants, bus drivers and security guards.

Around 1,900 members of Unite working as bus drivers for Abellio in London will complete a three-day strike on Friday in a separate dispute over pay.

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Meanwhile, train services between Scotland and England will be severely disrupted by the strike.

Cross-border services operated by CrossCountry, Transpennine Express and Avanti West Coast will not run on Friday.

LNER said it will run an amended service and Lumo, which run trains between Edinburgh and London, said it will aim to run as many services as possible.

No LNER trains will run any further north than Edinburgh, with trains between Edinburgh and London King’s Cross starting later and finishing earlier than usual.

ScotRail has reassured customers that all services would operate as normal this week.

Rail strikes: Travel disruption set to continue as thousands of workers walk out for fourth day | UK News

Rail passengers are facing a fourth day of travel disruption as thousands of workers continue to strike over jobs, pay and conditions.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union at Network Rail and 14 other train operators will walk out on Friday in action that is set to last 48 hours.

Only around 20% of normal services are due to run, with trains starting later and finishing earlier than usual.

The strike comes after train drivers in the Aslef union stopped working on Thursday, and ends a week of industrial action on the railways that has caused widespread disruption across the country.

Aslef’s general secretary Mick Whelan has warned further strikes are “inevitable” unless the deadlock between rail employers and the government is broken.

He has suggested the industrial action could escalate, saying train drivers want to go “harder and faster” after being refused a pay rise for years.

Talks are expected to be held early next week, but unions have continued to accuse the government of blocking negotiations – a claim ministers have denied.

Anti-strike legislation confirmed by government

On Thursday, the government announced a move to introduce legislation ensuring minimum levels of service during strikes in several industries, including the railways.

The legislation will be put to the Commons “in the coming weeks” and the government will consult on what those service levels should be.

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‘Must be minimum safety level on strike days’

There had been reports that other sectors would also be covered by the new laws, including health, education, nuclear power, other transport services and border security.

But the department said it “expects to continue to reach voluntary agreements” with those unions and “would only look to consult on minimum safety levels should these voluntary positions not be agreed”.

Business Secretary Grant Shapps said: “There has to be a minimum safety level that people can expect even on strike days, particularly in areas like health care. That’s very patchwork at the moment.”

Unions have reacted angrily to the proposal, with officials saying any laws would be unworkable and might lead to even more industrial action as a response to the controversial move.

General secretary of the TUC, Paul Nowak, called the proposals “an attack on working people” and said trade unions “will fight this every step of the way”.

Felixstowe strike: Workers at UK’s biggest container port to walk off the job for eight days | Business News

Workers at the UK’s biggest container port will go on strike for more than a week later this month in a dispute over pay.

More than 1,900 members of Unite union at Felixstowe will strike for eight days from Sunday 21 August until Monday 29 August.

The union said that employer Felixstowe Dock and Railway Company had failed to improve on its offer of a 7% pay increase, following only a 1.4% increase last year.

Almost half of the UK’s container traffic comes through Felixstowe and Unite said the action would hit supply chains, the logistics and haulage sectors, as well as international maritime trade.

It is the latest round of industrial action by workers pushing for pay to keep up with the cost of living.

Unite national officer for docks Bobby Morton said: “Strike action will cause huge disruption and will generate massive shockwaves throughout the UK’s supply chain, but this dispute is entirely of the company’s own making.

“It has had every opportunity to make our members a fair offer, but has chosen not to do so. Felixstowe needs to stop prevaricating and make a pay offer which meets our members’ expectations.”

‘Massively profitable and incredibly wealthy’

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said both Felixstowe docks and its parent company Hong Kong-based CK Hutchison are “massively profitable and incredibly wealthy”, adding: “They are fully able to pay the workforce a fair day’s pay.

“The company has prioritised delivering multi-million pound dividends rather than paying its workers a decent wage.

“Unite is entirely focused on enhancing its members’ jobs, pay, and conditions, and it will be giving the workers at Felixstowe its complete support until this dispute is resolved, and a decent pay increase is secured.”

More talks are due to take place on Monday.

Read more:
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Two more days of rail strikes announced in row over jobs, pay and conditions

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‘We need to remove power of militant unions’

In a statement supplied to Sky News, a spokesperson for the port said: “The company continues to actively seek a solution that works for all parties and that avoids industrial action.

“We understand our employees’ concerns at the rising cost of living and are determined to do all we can to help whilst continuing to invest in the port’s success.

“Discussions are ongoing and the company’s latest position in negotiations is an enhanced pay increase of 7%. We are meeting again on Monday 8 August with Acas and the union.

“The port has not had a strike since 1989 and we are disappointed that the union has served notice of industrial action while talks are ongoing. The port provides secure and well-paid employment and there will be no winners from industrial action.”

The Department for Transport has also been contacted for comment.

Felixstowe welcomes approximately 2,000 ship each year, according to its website, including some of the world’s largest container vessels.

Around 17 shipping lines operate from the port, offering 33 services to and from more than 700 ports around the world.