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Time for Amazon to pay the living wage

Living WageAs you might expect in the run-up to Christmas, Amazon has been back in the headlines. Not only do they avoid tax, but a BBC investigation found their workplace conditions were so bad that their employees ‘face increased risk of mental illness’. This was shortly followed by Carole Cadwalladr’s report from the coal-face in The Observer, and Deborah Friedell’s essay on Amazon’s irresistible rise in the London Review of Books.

Now, the retail giant is taking on 15,000 agency staff for the Christmas rush, and a petition is being circulated calling on the company to become a living wage employer. This falls somewhat short of the suggestion of the newest member of the city council in Seattle, where Amazon is based. Last month, we reported on the rise and rise of Kshama Sawant, the first member of the Militant-affiliated Socialist Alternative party to win election in America. She called for the “collectivisation” of Amazon, alongside other Seattle-based corporations such as Boeing.

For those who want to go further than petition-signing, remember many publishers offer online discounts themselves, as do many bookshops in the run-up to Christmas. And of course, the books that make for the best presents often come from the smaller presses – whether chosen for design, or for content.


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