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Spoof book title tricks Amazon into publishing protest over pay
[June 11, 2014]

Spoof book title tricks Amazon into publishing protest over pay

(Guardian (UK) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Campaigners demanding an "end to poverty pay" at Amazon took their battle directly to the internet retailer's doorstep yesterday by launching a fake book on Amazon's own website.

By the time Amazon had realised that A Living Wage for All Amazon Workers was a spoof and had taken the title down from the site, the listing had already drawn more than 100 reviews.

The product description read: "Over 62,000 people have called on Amazon to end poverty pay in 2014 - but Amazon has yet to take our demand seriously, so we've brought it direct to" It asked readers to "review this product below and let Amazon know that it's time to pay the human cost of its operations".

And they duly did. "Of all the innovative products that can be found on Amazon, this is the best," wrote one reviewer. "Life-changing doesn't even begin to describe it. Just think what people would be able to do if they were paid a proper wage." The "book" appeared on the site yesterday morning priced at pounds 7.65 - "the living wage rate across the UK outside London, where most of Amazon's warehouses are located", according to its product description. A statement on the Amazon website that "in the UK, permanent associates start at a minimum of pounds 7.10 per hour, increasing to a median of pounds 8 per hour after 24 months," was taken down by 11am.

The stunt was masterminded by Amazon Anonymous, which has been campaigning for months with its petition. "With UK sales in 2012 of pounds 4.2bn, you'd think Amazon could afford to pay its workers [both permanent and contracted agency staff] enough to be able to feed and clothe themselves and their families," it reads.

The campaigners delivered the 62,000-signature petition to Amazon's London offices in February, but were unhappy with the response , so launched an email campaign, which they say more than 10,000 people have now joined.

Emily Kenway, who led the operation, said: "Despite over 62,000 people calling on Amazon to end poverty pay, it has failed to take the call seriously; its response so far consists of avoiding the issue by stating the reward package of permanent employees, which is just a portion of its UK workforce, as it relies heavily on contracted agency workers for its UK warehouses.

"It is even failing to pay permanent employees living wage rates. Amazon is laughing at us. As consumers and concerned citizens, we need to say enough is enough." Captions: The living wage 'book' image as it appeared on the Amazon website (c) 2014 Guardian Newspapers Limited.

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