Wage inflation on the agenda after Amazon gives workers a big raise

Kathleen Frey loaded a cart with customer orders at an Amazon distribution warehouse in Fall River in 2017

Amazon today announced that over 250,000 of its employees along with an additional 100,000 or more seasonal workers will see their pay increased to $15 per hour from November 1. Amazon has almost 600,000 employees - many of them working in package warehouses, the company's chain of Whole Foods grocery stores and other places with large numbers of hourly wage workers.

Sanders did commit to working with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in his fight to raise the federal minimum wage. "We're excited about this change and encourage our competitors and other large employers to join us".

He said employees would also continue to receive Amazon's comprehensive benefits package, including private medical insurance, life assurance, income protection, paid breaks and company pension plan. "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. Amazon shares fell close to 0.5% in the premarket before retracing losses to trade up 0.2% on Tuesday afternoon.

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Around 16 Twitter accounts purporting to belong to staff in Amazon's warehouses began gaining attention in August after defending the company from criticism of its health and safety practices and worker conditions. Fortunately, Amazon is also promising these employees a pay raise to show that they are still valued. Employers are facing the tightest job market in almost two decades, making it more hard to lure workers who have a lot more choices about taking a job than just a year ago. Coupled with the nationwide push to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, Amazon may have felt that sooner or later, it would have to increase wages anyway. The UK increase will give 17,000 full time and 20,000 seasonal workers a boost. Walmart, which has 1 million workers, raised its minimum wage to $11 earlier this year.

The company said 250,000 employees and 100,000 seasonal hires will benefit from the changes. With a healthy USA economy, Americans looking for work have an increasing number of job options, so Amazon has to find ways to entice people to join its company.

Amazon's new pay rate includes workers who are hired through temp agencies and subsidiaries in the U.S. The company has more than 575,000 employees worldwide.

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