Amazon.com is planning to close three of its UK stores this year, in an operation that will affect around 1,200 staff.
Hemel Hempstead, Doncaster, and Gourock will close this year, creating two new fulfillment centers, Amazon said in a statement on Tuesday. The company said the new centers would eventually create 2,500 jobs and that employees at the affected warehouses would be offered jobs at other facilities.
The Seattle-based e-commerce giant said earlier this month that it plans to cut more than 18,000 jobs, representing about 1% of its total workforce, in the biggest layoff in its history. Amazon is adjusting to a sharp slowdown in online shopping after consumers resumed their pre-pandemic retail habits, and the company has delayed store openings and halted hiring across its retail group.
According to a spokesperson, the two new centers will be located in Pedmore (West Midlands) and Stockton-on-Tees (County Durham) and are due to open within the next three years.
Britain’s GMB workers’ union called the move a “kick in the teeth” for staff and said it was unfair to ask staff to move to a different location, “which may be many miles away”.
GMB members have voted to leave strike At Amazon’s Coventry warehouse, for the first time in the UK, in a scheduled stoppage on 25 January. The strike will not directly affect customers at Amazon, which “pride” itself on the wages it pays. Amazon said its packages start from a minimum of £10.50 ($12.75) to £11.45 per hour, depending on location.
The UK national living wage for adults aged 23 and over will rise from £9.50 to £10.42 in April.