Amazon to close three warehouses putting 1,200 jobs at risk

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Amazon is to close three UK warehouses, putting 1,200 jobs at risk, as it cuts costs as a result of the consumer downturn.

The company has launched consultations over the closure of sites in Hemel Hempstead, Doncaster, and Gourock in the west of Scotland.

The closures are separate from its recently-announced plan to cut around 18,000 jobs worldwide to reduce overheads in response to what chief executive Andy Jassy called “uncertain and difficult” economic conditions.

The online technology giant has also revealed plans for two new major fulfilment centres in Peddimore, West Midlands, and Stockton-on-Tees, County Durham, which will create 2,500 jobs over the next three years.

Around 500 employees currently work at Amazon’s Hemel Hempstead site, and will all be offered roles at its nearby Dunstable warehouse or other nearby locations.

The consultations will involve around 400 staff at its Doncaster site in Balby Carr Bank, who the company plans to transfer to its two other fulfilment centres at Doncaster’s iPort.

The proposals will also affect around 300 workers currently based at the Gourock site.

Labour West of Scotland MSP Katy Clark said: “It is appalling that after 19 years in the area, Amazon has announced it intends to up sticks.”

She added: “This is devastating for the local community and the 300 workers who may find themselves out of a job.

“These workers have been heroic supporting households and providing vital supplies throughout the pandemic and holiday periods.

“The Scottish Government needs to intervene as a matter of urgency to support these workers back into employment.”

Ms Clark also argued called for “full transparency” over how much the firm had been given by the Scottish Government.

All employees affected by site closure consultations will be offered the opportunity to transfer to other facilities, and we remain committed to our customers, employees, and communities across the UK

Amazon spokesman

She said: “Amazon has benefitted from significant public funds over several years from the Scottish Government. We need full transparency on how much Amazon has been given, for what purpose and what conditions were attached to these funds.”

Steve Garelick, GMB union organiser, said: “Hard-up Amazon workers can’t suddenly be expected to up sticks and move to a different fulfilment centre which may be many miles away. Local workers who may not be in a position to take roles so far away from where they live.”

A number of other tech firms, including Meta, have announced job cuts in recent months. Salesforce last week unveiled plans to cut several thousand roles.

A spokesman for Amazon said: “We’re always evaluating our network to make sure it fits our business needs and to improve the experience for our employees and customers.

“As part of that effort, we may close older sites, enhance existing facilities, or open new sites, and we’ve launched a consultation on the proposed closure of three fulfilment centres in 2023.”