Amazon raises wages for lower-paid workers

Amazon has raised the pay of thousands of workers in the United Kingdom and USA, after coming under increasing fire from campaigners over its low wages.

Effective Nov. 1, the USA wage increase to $15 an hour applies to more than 250,000 current employees along with 100,000 more seasonal workers who will be hired during the holidays, Amazon said Tuesday in a statement.

Amazon spokesman Jay Carney said: "We will be working to gain Congressional support for an increase in the federal minimum wage". 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", Jeff Bezos, Amazon's chief executive, said in a statement.

In response to Sanders and other critics, Amazon had previously said employees in its warehouses were paid an average of $15 if stock-based compensation and bonuses were included, without breaking out their underlying hourly wage. It will affect both full-time and part-time workers and take effect November 1.

Last fall Target committed to giving its employees $15 per hour by the end of 2020. Walmart announced back in January that it plans to raise its minimum wage to $11 per hour. Overall, more than 250,000 Amazon workers will get a pay raise from this, in addition to more than 100,000 seasonal employees that the company hires at various times throughout the year. "The current rate of $7.25 was set almost a decade ago", said Jay Carney, senior vice president of global corporate affairs for the company. Some employees who already make $15 per hour will also see a pay increase.

The company's announcement comes just ahead of the holiday hiring season.

Workers have been protesting against fast food chains like McDonald's Corp and demanding wage increases since 2012.

Amazon shares, trading lower before the company announced the wage hike, were down less than 0.3 percent at $1,997.75 in trading before the bell.

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