Amazon to close three UK warehouses this year as it plans to lay off 18,000 employees worldwide, following pandemic-era spending spree
Amazon is to close three warehouses in the UK this year, affecting about 1,200 staff at facilities in Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire, Doncaster in South Yorkshire and Gourock in Scotland, the e-commerce giant said on Tuesday.
The announcement comes a week after Amazon said it would lay off more than 18,000 staff worldwide, mostly from its e-commerce and human resources divisions.
All staff at the facilities are to be offered positions at other nearby Amazon facilities or retraining opportunities, Amazon said.
However, many are expected to lose their jobs, particularly at sites such as Gourock, in an area of western Scotland with high unemployment and no other Amazon sites nearby.
Amazon hired large numbers of staff in 2020 and 2021 to cope with a huge surge of demand from customers in pandemic lockdowns, and is now forced to reduce costs in the face of slowing consumer spending.
Chief executive Andy Jassy said in a note to employees, which was made public, that the changes would “help us pursue our long-term opportunities with a stronger cost structure”.
He said an “uncertain economy” was behind the move and added that Amaon had “hired rapidly over the last several years”.
But the company said it was planning two major new fulfilment centres in Peddimore, West Midlands and Stockton-on-Tees, County Durham, that are expected to create 2,500 jobs over the next three years.
The firm said the moves were part of regular evaluations of its network “to make sure it fits our business needs”.
“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 stated.
Local newspaper the Greenrock Telegraph said Gourock staff had been informed of the “bombshell” closure on Monday night.
The paper said Amazon had acknowledge many of the Gourock staff would lose their jobs due to “limited opportunities” available in Scotland.
The Gourock site employs about 300 staff, with 500 at Hemel Hempstead and 400 in Doncaster.