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Amazon to shut three UK warehouses, affecting 1,200 jobs

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Amazon has said it plans to shut three UK warehouses in a move which will impact 1,200 jobs.

It comes after the online retail giant last week said it is cutting more than 18,000 jobs worldwide in the largest layoffs programme in its history as part of plans to slash costs.

Sites in Hemel Hempstead, Doncaster and Gourock, in the west of Scotland, have been proposed for closure.

It is understood that all workers at the sites will be offered roles at other Amazon locations.

Amazon 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.

A spokesman 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.”

The world’s largest retailer, which employs around 1.5 million people globally, had warned in November of job cuts amid reports it was targeting 10,000 roles. It said it had found more jobs needed to be axed as part of an in-depth review of its business and amid the pressure of dampening demand and recession fears.

Amazon said roles that will be affected include those across its online and bricks and mortar stores, such as Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods, as well as back office functions such as its human resources division.

In the UK, Amazon has more than 75,000 employees across the country and has been expanding rapidly, with 25,000 people taken on in 2021 amid the boom in online shopping during the pandemic and another 4,000 hired in 2022.

Alongside its online retail operation, it also has 19 Amazon Fresh stores and seven Whole Foods Market outlets in the UK.

Chief executive Andy Jassy – who took over from founder Jeff Bezos in July 2021 – said in a note to employees, which was made public: “These changes will help us pursue our long-term opportunities with a stronger cost structure.”

He blamed the move on an “uncertain economy”, adding “we’ve hired rapidly over the last several years”.

Mr Jassy also said the announcement had been brought forward after one of its employees leaked the details.

“We decided it was better to share this news earlier so you can hear the details directly from me,” he said.

The group expects to tell staff directly affected by the cuts from January 18 and said it is offering a separation payment, transitional health insurance benefits, and job placement support.

He added: “Companies that last a long time go through different phases. They’re not in heavy people expansion mode every year.”

Another US tech company also announced a round of major job cuts on Thursday, with Salesforce axing around 8,000 workers worldwide, or 10% of its workforce.

A raft of tech giants in the United States have been slashing jobs in recent months as they row back some of the rapid growth and hiring made during the pandemic.

Amazon’s job cuts, which are thought will include UK roles, come as the company also faces the first strike by its UK workers later this month.

Members of the GMB union based at a warehouse in Coventry will walk out on January 25 in a dispute over pay after voting in favour of taking industrial action.

Joshua Warner, market analyst at City Index, said: “With growth harder to come by and inflation still driving up costs, the focus is now gradually shifting to which companies can protect profitability during these tougher times by finding savings.