Amazon has announced plans to close three warehouses in the UK, which could affect 1,200 employees.
However, despite the cuts, the company also still intends to open two new centres and create 2,500 jobs.
The three warehouses that are closing are located in the west of Scotland at Gourock, Doncaster in Yorkshire, and Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire.
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The company said employees at the closing sites would have the option to transfer to other Amazon locations.
In an effort to slash expenses, Amazon said last week that it will be eliminating more than 18,000 employees globally, which would be a record for the company.
According to an Amazon spokeswoman, the decision to close the UK warehouses was reached following an analysis of the company’s operations in the UK.
She said the move was “totally unrelated” to the larger reductions, which largely affect office workers.
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The new warehouses will be in Peddimore, West Midlands, and Stockton-on-Tees, County Durham.
They will contain “state-of-the-art” robotic facilities.
The company 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.”
Amazon also intends to close seven delivery stations in England, employing dozens of people, while opening two new ones in Havant in Hampshire and Aylesford.
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These will be built in place of the existing stations in Portsmouth and Aylesford.
Birmingham, Hemel Hempstead, Huntingdon, Horley, and Newcastle will also close stations that prepare orders for delivery.
The online giant grew rapidly during the pandemic.
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It currently employs approximately 70,000 people in the United Kingdom, including 400 at the Doncaster facility, 500 at Hemel Hempstead, and 300 at Gourock.
Amazon said it may be able to absorb staff affected by the closures at two other warehouses in Doncaster and one in Dunstable, about 20 minutes drive from Hemel Hempstead.
But Steve Garelick, GMB union officer for Hemel Hempstead, called the moves a “real kick in the teeth for Amazon staff who worked themselves into the ground during the festive rush”.
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It may be difficult for workers to take roles further away from their homes, he added.
“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.
Katy Clark, Labour MSP for West of Scotland, called the decision to shut the Gourock warehouse after 19 years in the area “appalling”.
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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 in 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.”
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Amazon has confronted rising pressure over workers’ rights since the pandemic.
Hundreds of workers at a warehouse in Coventry voted last month to stage what is supposed to be the first strike action at the company in the UK.
The strike, part of a row over pay, is set to happen on 25 January.
Source: BBC News
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