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1,200 jobs at risk as Amazon proposes closure of three UK warehouses

Image credit: Reuters/Leonhard Foeger

Amazon has revealed plans to shut three UK warehouses in a move which will affect 1,200 jobs.

The company has launched consultations over the closure of sites in Hemel Hempstead, Doncaster, and Gourock in the west of Scotland. All workers at the sites will be offered roles at other Amazon locations.

The online retail 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 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.

It is understood that these proposals are separate from Amazon’s recently announced plans to cut around 18,000 jobs worldwide as part of a drive to cut costs. That figure has already swelled from the 10,000 jobs initially placed on the chopping block in November 2022.

A spokesperson for 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.

“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. We also plan to open two new fulfilment centres, creating 2,500 new jobs, over the next three years.

“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.”

Steve Garelick, GMB union organiser, said: “This is a real kick in the teeth for Amazon staff who worked themselves into the ground during the festive rush. 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 may not be in a position to take roles so far away from where they live.”

He also claimed that Amazon has “failed to bring a stable employment model due to their long-standing health and safety issues and poor workplace practices”.

“To move forward with stability, Amazon needs to engage with the workforce through their union GMB,” he added.

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