Amazon increases its minimum wage to $15

Amazon has raised the pay of thousands of workers in the United Kingdom and U.S., after coming under increasing fire from campaigners over its low wages.

The move comes amid a national push to have fast-food restaurants and other blue-collar employers pay workers $15 an hour.

A public policy team employed by Amazon will begin pushing for an increase in the US federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. The rise for London workers will be 28%.

"We listened to our critics, thought hard about what we wanted to do, and decided we want to lead", says CEO Jeff Bezos, who Reuters notes is the richest man in the world with a net worth of $150 billion.

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The federal minimum wage for the U.S.is now $7.25, though most states have higher minimums.

The increase will apply from 1 November to all staff, full and part-time, as well as temporary and seasonal workers. And some companies have responded to the public pressure.

Workers in the U.S. will be paid $15 an hour, compared to the minimum wage of $7.25.

All hourly USA employees in operations and customer service jobs, including those who made more than $15 an hour, would receive a pay bump in November, a spokeswoman said. Walmart announced back in January that it plans to raise its minimum wage to $11 per hour. "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.

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The pay hike announced by Amazon Tuesday arrives right as retailers head into their most crucial season ahead of the holidays.

Amazon, which became the second company after Apple to cross $1 trillion in market value last month, paid its US employees on average $34,123 a year ago.

On Tuesday, fast food workers in MI are going to kick off a series of protests in the Midwest and elsewhere around the country in support of unions and a $15 minimum age.

Amazon made the announcement on a company blog this morning.

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