Legal challenge to Amazon’s ‘one-click-to-quit’ the union tool

Area of work: Justice for tech workers

Tagged with: Amazon, Amazon UK, Coventry, UK

Foxglove is supporting five workers at the Amazon UK Coventry warehouse to launch a legal challenge of Amazon’s latest union-busting tactic.

In response to the victory of Amazon warehouse workers in Coventry securing a vote on trade union recognition, the tech giant has launched a new “one-click to quit the union” tool, and they’re relentlessly pushing it to every worker in their Coventry warehouse.

The QR code for the tool is displayed on each table in the canteen, in every meeting and training room, in every hallway, and every toilet, as well as shown every five minutes of the working day in screens at the centre of the warehouse.

If a worker scans the QR code and clicks the link, Amazon’s software automatically generates a letter from the worker and then emails it to the trade union, ending their membership. 

Under trade union law, an employer cannot make an offer to an employee for the sole or main purpose of inducing workers not to be members of an independent trade union, take part in its activities, or make use of its services.

We think building this new tool – which makes cancelling union membership much, much, easier than cancelling Amazon Prime – is a breach of this law.

As well as the new tool, Amazon is also stepping up its more traditional union-busting tactics. It is attempting to bully workers in Coventry into ending their union membership, using the power managers hold over ordinary workers to intimidate them. 

Workers are being directly confronted in the warehouse by managers and told to leave the union. They are told union membership is a waste of money, that they will no longer be able to change their shifts if they remain union members and will lose their Amazon “benefits”. 

Workers are also required to attend anti-union seminars being held in the warehouse, where misinformation and anti-union propaganda is displayed on screens – spreading falsehoods about the nature and powers of trade unions. This includes being told “GMB is a business just like Amazon”. Workers are taken directly from their workstation to these sessions, meaning they are effectively mandatory. 

None of this should come as a surprise. We need to fight back against these dirty tactics – but we can also take some inspiration because they show how much this fight matters. 

Amazon is one of the most powerful companies on the planet. Its boss is one of the world’s richest men. Their power and wealth has been built on the back of busting unions and exploiting works. If the Coventry union vote is successful, it will send ripples around the world – of course Amazon is going to fight us tooth and nail.

That’s why we’re supporting this case – to make sure this battle is fought on a level playing field.

To stay up to date on all the news on this case as it happens, hit the button below:

And to support workers in Coventry directly, you can donate to their strike fund at the link below: