Amazon is raising its minimum wage to $15 following pressure from Bernie Sanders

  • Amazon announced on Tuesday it is raising its minimum wage in the US to $15.

  • CEO Jeff Bezos said the company had "listened to our critics."

  • The decision follows sustained pressure from Senator Bernie Sanders, who has attacked Amazon and Bezos over the company's low wages.

Amazon has announced it is raising its minimum wage in the US to $15, following sustained pressure from Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Amazon said the salary increase, which is more than double the federal minimum wage of $7.25, will come into effect on November 1.

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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.

"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."

Jay Carney, senior vice president of Amazon's global corporate affairs, added: "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.

"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."

This decision follows sustained pressure from Senator Bernie Sanders, who has attacked Amazon for how little it pays its workers, and introduced a bill in September entitled "Stop BEZOS," which would tax large companies whose low-wage employees rely on government assistance.

Amazon extends wage increase beyond the US

The wage rise extends beyond the US. Amazon announced in a press release that it is introducing a new minimum wage in the UK, to £10.50 ($13.60) for the London area and £9.50 ($12.30) for the rest of the UK. The Living Wage Foundation gives £10.20 as the London living wage, and £8.75 for the rest of the country.

British reporter James Bloodworth, who went undercover as a worker in an Amazon warehouse, told Business Insider that the wage increase was welcome news. "It's overdue but it's a really good step," he said.

However, Bloodworth added that low wages aren't the only problem Amazon has with the way it treats workers. "There are still issues ongoing in the warehouses," he said, pointing to high productivity targets. Bloodworth has previously told Business Insider that working inside the warehouse was like a "prison."

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