Amazon to shut three UK warehouses putting 1,200 jobs at risk

Amazon  FILE - In this file photo made Nov. 16, 2009, Stephen Guymon, of Twin Falls, Idaho, separates packages for final shipment inside the 800,000 sq. ft. warehouse in Goodyear, Ariz. Inc., reports quarterly earnings Thursday, April 22, 2010, after the market close. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin file)
Amazon said sites in Hemel Hempstead, Doncaster and Gourock, in the west of Scotland, have been proposed for closure. Photo: AP

Amazon (AMZN) plans to shut three UK warehouses in a move which will impact 1,200 jobs.

A spokesman for the online retailer said the firm has launched consultations over the closure of three UK warehouses.

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.

Read more: UK workers at risk as Amazon axes 18,000 jobs globally

“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.”

Staff at Amazon’s Gourock warehouse in Inverclyde were told last night that the site is set to close, according to the Greenock Telegraph.

"The bombshell was broken to employees by management at Faulds Park last night as they announced a ‘consultation’ on the move," the local newspaper reported.

"The Tele understands that the sprawling facility ⁠— which opened back in 2004 and remains one of the largest employers in the district ⁠— could close as early as 19 March, in what is a major blow for the area.

"Amazon say that all staff will have the chance to relocate to other sites, but bosses have also admitted there will be ‘limited opportunities’ available in Scotland, meaning that many of the workforce will lose their livelihoods."

Around 500 employees currently work at Amazon’s Hemel Hempstead site, one of the three which are proposed to be closed.

They will all be offered roles at Amazon’s nearby Dunstable warehouse or other nearby locations.

The consultations also involve around 400 staff at its Doncaster site in Balby Carr Bank, who Amazon plans to transfer to its two other fulfilment centres at Doncaster’s iPort.

The move comes as Amazon announced last week it is cutting 18,000 jobs ⁠— the biggest round of layoffs in the company's history .

The online retailer said most of the job losses will come from its shops including Amazon Fresh and Go and its human resources division.

The cuts amount to 6% of the company's roughly 300,000-person corporate workforce. It has a global workforce of more than 1.5 million.

Chief executive Andy Jassy 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”.

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

Amazon is seeking to rein in costs that had spiralled during the boom era for online shopping during the pandemic.

The decision to shut three warehouses in the UK also comes as Amazon is set to endure a strike by workers in the UK for the first time.

Read more: Amazon to deliver by bike and on foot in London for first time

Members of the GMB union at the company's Coventry warehouse are due to walk out on 25 January as part of a fight for better pay.

"GMB urges Amazon UK bosses to give workers a proper pay rise and avoid industrial action altogether," the union's senior organiser Amanda Gearing said.

"They've shown they're willing to put themselves on the line to fighting for what's right.

"But people working for one of the most valuable companies in the world shouldn't have to threaten strike action just to win a wage they can live on."

Watch: AOC calls Amazon jobs a 'scam' because thousands of its employees are on food stamps