Amazon to Pay $15 an Hour to All U.S. Employees

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Amazon is also increasing wages in some areas outside the U.S. The company announced that the minimum wage will be 10.50 pounds an hour in London and 9.50 pounds in other parts of the UK.

Bezos apparently took the suggestion, saying that not only should other companies follow his lead, but that the federal government should also raise the minimum wage. In a statement, Amazon noted that the minimum wage increase will benefit more than 250,000 Amazon employees and 100,000 seasonal workers.

Valued at almost one trillion dollars, Amazon is the world's second most valuable company after Apple.

Amazon has faced criticism from labour rights groups and others over pay and working conditions at its warehouses.

CEO Jeff Bezos said "we listened to our critics" and "decided we wanted to lead".

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Amazon on Tuesday said it will raise its minimum wage to $15 in the USA, a response to mounting pressure over its wages and treatment of its warehouse workers.

Bezos is the world's richest man by a large margin-he is worth around $165 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index-but past year Amazon's median pay was just $28,446, which works out to around $14 an hour. One of its harshest critics is U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders.

Amazon is now among a handful of large retail companies that have upped their wages.

"The bottom line is that in the richest country in the history of the world, we're seeing massive levels of income and wealth inequality".

It's worth pointing out that the $15 hourly wage is not an arbitrary number.

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White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said the move was "terrific", adding: "Good for them".

"I think the workers have stood up and fought back", Sanders said. Target announced earlier this year it would raise its minimum wage to $12 an hour with a plan to lift it to $15 by 2020.

Retailers including Target and Walmart have been increasing wages in recent years as a tight labor market in the US and pressure from labor advocates make it prudent to increase pay to attract better pool of job applicants, keep workers happy and dissuade them from leaving for better-paying work.

"We believe $7.25 is too low".

Some firms have had to curtail or cancel planned investments as a result.

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Amazon's move will cost it $1 billion or less annually and the recent $20 price increase for Prime memberships would generate enough to offset the wage hike, Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter said.