Amazon has announced plans to shut down three of its UK warehouses and seven small delivery sites, a move that might lead to the loss of 1,200 jobs.
The warehouses that will be shut down include a 415,000ft² warehouse in Doncaster, a 297,231ft² facility at Faulds Park in Gourock, Scotland, and a 450,000ft² facility on Boundary Way in Hemel Hempstead. The company says that the closure is part of an evaluation of its network to make sure it fits its business needs and to improve the experience of employees and customers.
Affected workers will be offered positions at other Amazon warehouses. According to a company spokesperson, during the following three years, the company will establish two new fulfilment centres in Stockton-on-Tees, County Durham, Peddimore and West Midlands, resulting in the creation of 2,500 jobs.
The CEO of Amazon, Andy Jassy, informed staff that the company was fully aware of how terrible it was for people to lose their jobs. He said that the company doesn’t take these decisions lightly or underestimate how much they might affect those who are impacted.
He also clarified that the action was a component of efforts to modify where they spend their resources and find a way to deliver more for customers at a reduced cost.
Employees from the seven delivery sites, each of which employs at least 20 people who work with van drivers to deliver items to homes, are expected to relocate to other nearby locations. Huntingdon, Horley, Newcastle, Birmingham, and Hemel Hempstead facilities will be permanently closed, while old sites in Portsmouth and Aylesford will relocate to new buildings nearby.
The decision to close UK warehouses is also a setback for UK commercial real estate companies, including Segro, the largest warehouse landlord in Europe and a provider of facilities to Amazon in the UK.
The announcement, according to GMB union organiser Steve Garelick, is a tremendous kick in the teeth for Amazon personnel who worked themselves into the ground during the holiday rush. He 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 may not be in a position to take roles so far away from where they live.”
Katy Clark, a Labour MSP for West Scotland, called the closing of the Gourock warehouse devastating for the local community and the 300 workers who may find themselves out of a job. She urged the Scottish government to take action to assist the workers in finding new jobs and insisted that there needed to be complete transparency over the amount it had previously granted the online store.