Amazon gives UK warehouse staff a £2-a-hour pay rise
Amazon gives UK warehouse staff a £2-a-hour pay rise – and creates 5,000 new full and part-time jobs as online retailer rakes in £9,000 every second during global lockdowns
- UK boss Doug Gurr wrote to customers today about retailer’s recent changes
- He said it also upgraded warehouses to higher standards on social distancing
- Amazon has seen its share price increase by more than a third in just a month
- Surging business has reinforced Jeff Bezos’s position as world’s richest person
Amazon warehouse staff and delivery drivers will get a £2-an-hour pay rise in recognition for their work during the coronavirus lockdown, the company said.
UK boss Doug Gurr wrote to customers today explaining that the online retail giant has also upgraded its warehouses to Government standards on social distancing.
He added that more than 150 changes have been made based on World Health Organisation guidelines – and a further 5,000 full and part-time jobs created.
Workers collect customer orders during Black Friday deals week at an Amazon fulfilment centre in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, on November 25, 2015
Amazon has seen its share price increase by more than a third in just a month, with global customers now spending £9,000 a second on its products and services.
Its surging business at a time of lockdown has reinforced the owner Jeff Bezos’s position as the world’s richest person with an astonishing fortune of £112billion.
Amazon UK boss Doug Gurr (pictured in London in 2018) wrote to customers today
The price of Mr Bezos’s stock on paper rose by more than £5billion on one day alone last week, with the Seattle-based company now valued at about £1trillion.
But Amazon faces battles at its French operations, which are currently closed after a court ruled the company must only sell essential products, while staff have staged protests over virus safety fears in warehouses.
In the letter today, Mr Gurr wrote: ‘We’ve increased the frequency and intensity of cleaning at our sites, adjusted our practices so that our employees can observe social distancing measures, and we are providing temperature checks, as well as masks and gloves.’
He added: ‘In recognition of their incredible contribution, we’ve increased the pay for employees in our fulfilment centres and delivery roles, adding a further £2 per hour on top of our current starting rate of £10.50 for the London area and £9.50 for the rest of the UK.’
Amazon owner Jeff Bezos (file picture) has seen his position as the world’s richest person reinforced in recent weeks with an astonishing fortune of £112billion
A further 5,000 full and part-time jobs have also been created to help ease the expected surge in unemployment, the company said.
Amazon has operated throughout the lockdown, although deliveries have been delayed and some non-essential products were removed from sale.
The company also told customers it is working with the Government to help boost testing capacity for Covid-19 in the UK.
Mr Gurr said: ‘Along with other partners, the Amazon logistics network is delivering test kits to diagnostic sites set up around the UK and to NHS staff and others on the front lines of this crisis.’
He added that Amazon has committed £3.2million to a fund, including support for local communities where its staff live and work, and a donation to the British Red Cross.
Previously, the company said it will give employees diagnosed with Covid-19 up to two weeks of pay, and has set up a fund for the contractors it uses for delivery and seasonal work.
In France, appeal judges will rule on Friday on a court order limiting Amazon France deliveries to essential items after staff filed a lawsuit saying they feared coronavirus infections at work.
Amazon shut down its French warehouses last week after a court said it could deliver only food, hygiene or medical products pending a review of safety measures for its roughly 10,000 employees in France.
Dozens had staged walkouts at several sites before the ruling, saying they worked in close proximity in contravention of social distancing measures imposed by the government to limit infections.
The online delivery giant appealed the ruling by a court in Versailles. Amazon says it supplied personal protective equipment and implemented measures to ensure sufficient distance between employees.
Full message from Amazon’s UK boss to customers explains worker pay rise and warehouse upgrade
Dear valued customer,
Following the announcement of the extended lockdown, we’re all coming to realise that life will be quite different for a while. I wanted to send our heartfelt thanks to the many key workers who are tirelessly supporting the communities around us, and our warmest thoughts to all of you at this difficult time.
Thousands of our co-workers in fulfilment centres, sort centres and delivery stations across the country are working to fulfil your orders. We’ve been humbled by the kind words received in recent weeks in appreciation of their hard work, and wanted to say a huge thank you for your patience and support during this challenging period.
We want to do everything we can to support our employees and the customers and communities we serve throughout this crisis, so I thought I’d share some detail of what we’re doing.
For customers and their families
As one of the many companies playing an essential role at this time, we’re making critical updates to our logistics, transportation, supply chain, purchasing and other processes to ensure you can shop at Amazon.co.uk, have orders delivered to your door, and stay safe at home. Customers will also have more time to return items and we’re also providing contactless delivery. Some of our deliveries may be taking longer than usual and some of your favourite items might not always be available. We hope you’ll bear with us as we do our best to continue to deliver to you during these challenging times.
With more time spent at home, we thought it would be helpful to provide access to free content. You can find free eBooks and audiobooks, Amazon Future Engineer virtual coding lessons, family TV shows, fitness content, plus a selection of Amazon Music playlists and stations. You can also entertain your family for a spell. Just say ‘Alexa, read Harry Potter Book One’ and listen to Harry Potter at home, free from Audible for a limited time.
For our colleagues
Nothing is more important to us than the wellbeing of our employees. With guidance from the World Health Organization (WHO), we’ve made over 150 process changes focused on the health and safety of our teams. We’ve increased the frequency and intensity of cleaning at our sites, adjusted our practices so that our employees can observe social distancing measures, and we are providing temperature checks, as well as masks and gloves.
In recognition of their incredible contribution, we’ve increased the pay for employees in our fulfilment centres and delivery roles, adding a further £2 per hour on top of our current starting rate of £10.50 for the London area, and £9.50 for the rest of the UK. In addition, 5,000 new full and part-time positions and delivery jobs have opened across the UK to provide job opportunities for people impacted by the pandemic.
For communities, the NHS and other health organisations
As part of a coalition of companies, universities, and research institutions, we are working with the Government to boost testing capacity for COVID-19. Along with other partners, the Amazon logistics network is delivering test kits to diagnostic sites set up around the UK and to NHS staff and others on the front lines of this crisis.
To support those in the UK who are most affected by the COVID-19 crisis, we have committed £3.2 million, including a donation to the British Red Cross and a fund to support local organisations in communities where our employees live and work.
Every one of you is doing your part to save lives – whether that’s by staying home to protect your families, friends and neighbours, or by leaving home to keep the country going as a key worker. We thank you for this, and wish you and your families the very best at this difficult time.
Amazon UK Country Manager
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