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Sunday, June 13, 2021 | 12:50 am
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Amazon Set to Hire 10,000 UK Workers

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Amazon Set to Hire 10,000 UK Workers

US tech giant Amazon is to go on a hiring spree in the UK as online shopping continues to boom in the pandemic.

Amazon is to hire 10,000 UK employees as it opens more warehouses in the north and south of England.

It is also creating a number of corporate roles in Cambridge, Edinburgh, London, and Manchester.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said the move was “a huge vote of confidence in the British economy”.

The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated a trend towards online shopping, and tech giants such as Amazon have reaped the benefits.

Now the firm, which has come under criticism over working conditions and over the amount of tax it pays, is further entrenching its position in the UK.

The addition of 10,000 new roles, including thousands in its warehouses, will take its UK workforce to more than 55,000 by the end of the year.

Amazon said pay for operations roles was £9.70 per hour, or £10.80 in London, with other benefits.

Its profits tripled in the first three months of the year to $8.1bn (£5.76bn), up from $2.5bn a year ago.

The online retail giant will open new “fulfillment” warehouses in Dartford, Gateshead, Hinckley, and Swindon, and a “parcel receive” warehouse in Doncaster.

It will recruit in its offices for roles in fashion, digital marketing, engineering, video production, software development, cloud computing, AI, and machine learning.

The company will also be recruiting for its Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud computing business and its operations network.

Working conditions

Amazon continues to face scrutiny over how much tax it pays in the UK, which prompted the government to launch a digital services tax in April 2020.

The online retail giant has insisted that it pays all taxes required in the UK.

On Thursday, it won a court battle overturning an order for it to pay €250m (£215m) in back taxes to the EU.

In March, the Unite union demanded that Amazon give its British workers a “new deal”, including allowing them to unionize and have a greater share of the firm’s profits.

At the same time, it also launched a confidential hotline for Amazon workers to call to whistleblow on working conditions.

Worker in an Amazon warehouse.

“Amazon continues to be plagued by reports of poor working conditions and anti-union tactics,” said Unite’s executive officer Sharon Graham at the time.

“Unite has written to Jeff Bezos to call on him to guarantee workers the freedom to talk with and form a union without fear.”

Training ‘key’

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng heralded Amazon’s plans as making a “prime investment in our retail sector”, which will “open up a wide range of opportunities for even more workers”.

Amazon will also invest £10m over three years into a scheme to train 5,000 employees in subjects including accountancy, HGV driving, and software development, in a bid to give them transferable skills.

Amazon will pay 95% of tuition and associated fees for adult education courses, up to £8,000 over four years.

Local chambers of commerce will work with Amazon to identify regional skills shortages.

Shevaun Haviland, director-general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “Providing staff with training to plug the skills gaps that exist within the local business community is going to be a key driver to increasing productivity and boosting the economy as the UK recovers from the pandemic.”

Amazon’s UK Country Manager John Boumphrey said: “We’re proud of the front-line roles we offer across Amazon, and we also know that they will be a stepping stone for some in their career journey.”

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