Representatives of the Graphical, Paper and Media Union (GPMU) have met Amazon.co.uk management to discuss working conditions and the unionisation of the firm's distribution centre near Milton Keynes.
GPMU has been regularly handing out protest leaflets outside the centre. The Union claims that its recruiting efforts have attracted over 100 staff and have already led to improvements such as a pay rise of 50p per hour, promotions for some Black and Asian workers and canteen facilities.
Union officials Steve Ireland and Peter Lockhart have met with Amazon management for the first time and say that more talks will follow. Ireland said of the meeting: "It was a no holds barred discussion. We came away feeling optimistic and realistic."
Under the June 1998 Employment Relations Act companies have to recognise unions when half the workforce plus one joins.
Dotcoms have been largely anti-union, citing their new culture of openness and employee stock options, but the economic downturn and staff layoffs have seen workers increasingly interested in union membership.
Staff complaints about long hours and poor facilities at the Milton Keynes centre had at one stage threatened to bring Amazon UK to the attention of the UK's Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service.
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