Amazon hikes pay for USA and United Kingdom workers following criticism

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"We're excited about this change and encourage our competitors and other large employers to join us".

The wage hike will benefit more than 350,000 workers, which includes full-time, part-time, temporary and seasonal positions.

Bezos is the world's richest man by a large margin-he is worth around $165 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index-but a year ago Amazon's median pay was just $28,446, which works out to around $14 an hour.

And Walmart, the country's largest private-sector employer, which has more than 1 million United States workers, raised its minimum wage to $11 in February.

The only thing that isn't clear is if these wage increases also affect Amazon's delivery drivers, many of which are classified as gig economy workers.

Jeff Bezos, the billionaire founder of the e-commerce company, which has become a byword in Britain for low-paying work in recent years, said: "We listened to our critics, thought hard about what we wanted to do, and decided we want to lead".

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, a self-described Democratic socialist, has been vocal about the pay disparity at U.S. corporations and has proposed a bill aimed at making large corporations pay workers more.

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The higher minimum wage, which will go into effect on November 1, comes after the company faced criticism over its pay and treatment of employees. Sen.

The Obama administration had called for raising the minimum wage to $10.10, but the proposal went nowhere during an era of divided government.

Amazon says it will pay all its USA workers at least $15.

"We intend to advocate for a minimum wage increase that will have a profound impact on the lives of tens of millions of people and families across this country".

Competition among companies for qualified workers is growing more intense, and they are increasingly willing to pay.

Other companies have also moved to raise wages, particularly in this tight labor market.

Retailer Target Corp raised its minimum hourly wage last year to $11 and promised to raise it to $15 an hour by the end of 2020, while the world's largest retailer Walmart raised its minimum wage to $11 an hour earlier this year.