Established by Fathi Ibrahim Bayoud 2005 - Homs

Amazon bumps minumum wage to $15 amid tight labor

Business | 2018-10-02 19:08:00
Amazon bumps minumum wage to $15 amid tight labor
Online retail giant Amazon announced Tuesday it would raise its starting wage for US workers to $15 an hour, amid long-standing criticism of low pay, and advocate for a higher minimum wage nationwide.

The pay raise will apply to 250,000 employees, starting November 1, and to the more than 100,000 seasonal workers the company expects to hire for the holiday shopping season.

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said the company, with a market valuation of nearly $1 trillion, heard the complaints about the pay structure.

"We listened to our critics, thought hard about what we wanted to do, and decided we want to lead," Bezos said in a statement.

Amazon encouraged other large US employers to follow its lead, and said it would lobby US lawmakers for an increase in the federal minimum wage, currently at only $7.25.

But the company did not say if it would push for a minimum wage of $15 per hour, a long-sought goal of worker advocates. Amazon's pay varies by location, so the increase could be $3 to $5 an hour depending on the state.

The company -- which offers online shoppers an unparalleled combination of ease, speedy delivery and choice few can match -- has long faced stinging criticism of its labor practices, including grueling labor conditions and lack of job security.

While Amazon portrays the pay raise as a response to those critics, with US unemployment now flirting with historic lows, employers across the country complain they are having difficulty finding enough qualified workers to fill open positions. And some have had to curtail or cancel planned investments as a result.

- Tax cuts, flat US wages -

The new minimum wage will also apply to employees at high-end grocery store chain Whole Foods, which Amazon acquired last year, according to Amazon.

"We intend to advocate for a minimum wage increase that will have a profound impact on the lives of tens of millions of people and families across this country," Jay Carney, Amazon's head of global corporate affairs, said in the statement.

Amazon employees currently receive support for job training, health coverage, as well as retirement benefits and paid parental leave, the company said.

Despite the tight US labor market and rising after-tax corporate profits, worker pay in the United States has so far risen only sluggishly, leaving them effectively flat when taking inflation into account.

President Donald Trump had promoted December's sweeping tax cuts by saying they would boost worker pay, and the White House has pointed to bonuses many employers have since offered as evidence of increased prosperity.

Bezos, a frequent target of Trump's criticism, is currently the world's richest man, with a total net worth of $165 billion, largely Microsoft founder Bill Gates, according to Bloomberg.

AFP
Comments (0)

Post Your Comments

fill all fields below
*This confirmation code will prevent auto submit
X :Latest News
UN sends aid to hundreds of thousands in war-torn Syria      Syrian air defenses intercept enemy targets around Damascus: SANA      Cyprus police detain 40 Syrian migrants after boat arrival      Saudis reject extraditions to Turkey over Khashoggi murder      All of Israel within range of our missiles: Hezbollah      Belgium: Right-wing party quits govt over migration row      For Palestinian children in Gaza, an education in conflict      At scene of South Sudan mass rape, ‘no one could hear me’