Growing Demand Sees Amazon Promise 7,000 UK Jobs

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Rare bit of good news on the jobs front as Amazon says it will create another 7,000 new jobs in the UK to cope with demand

E-commerce giant Amazon has announced that due to growing demand, it will create 10,000 permanent jobs in the United Kingdom in 2020.

It said that it had already created 3,000 jobs to its UK workforce, and when the 7,000 extra jobs are added this year, it will take its permanent UK workforce to 40,000.

The jobs will spread across its UK network of fulfilment centres, sort centres and delivery stations – including at a new hi-tech fulfilment centre in the North East of England which opened in May.

New jobs

The 7,000 jobs will also be located in Amazon’s corporate offices and two new fulfilment centres launching in the autumn in the North East and in the Midlands.

Amazon said the new roles would include engineers, graduates, HR and IT professionals, health and safety and finance specialists, as well as the teams who will pick, pack and ship customer orders.

The firm said it had already offered temporary roles to thousands of people whose job was impacted at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, many of whom will now be able to transition into a permanent role with the potential for a career within Amazon.

In addition, Amazon is creating more than 20,000 seasonal positions across the UK ahead of the festive period.

“While this has been a challenging time for many businesses, it is hugely encouraging to see Amazon creating 10,000 jobs in the UK this year,” said Business Secretary, Alok Sharma.

“This is not only great news for those looking for a new job, but also a clear vote of confidence in the UK economy as we build back better from the pandemic,” Sharma said. “The government remains deeply committed to supporting retailers of all sizes and we continue to work closely with the industry as we embark on the road to economic recovery.”

“The new state-of-the-art robotics fulfilment centres in the North East and the Midlands, as well as the thousands of additional roles at sites across the country, underline our commitment to the people and communities in which we operate,” added Stefano Perego, Amazon’s VP of European Customer Fulfilment.

Workforce relations

In March Amazon said it would hire 100,000 warehouse and delivery workers in the US, in response to a surge in online orders, as many consumers and households around the world entered self-isolation and lockdowns to minimise the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic.

But critics point to working conditions at Amazon, and its refusal to allow its workforce to unionise. Amazon instead has encouraged a policy where workers say their concerns with management.

Earlier this week Amazon reportedly withdrew two job adverts for “intelligence analysts”, and it was forced to deny the roles would entail spying on union activity within its workforce.

In May this year Tim Bray, a senior engineer with Amazon Web Services, resigned over Amazon’s decision to fire staff who had protested what they called insufficient virus protections.

Christian Smalls was fired after he had helped organise a walk out at the location (another took place in Detroit) in protest at Amazon’s alleged lack of protection of the workforce during the pandemic.

Five US senators sent Amazon chief Jeff Bezos a letter demanding more information on the firing of Christian Smalls.

In June the US state of California said it was looking into Amazon’s business practices as part of a broader inquiry into the company.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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