Amazon to close three UK warehouses affecting 1,200 jobs

Workers at the affected sites will be offered roles in other Amazon locations

Amazon has announced plans to shut three UK warehouses in a move that will impact 1,200 jobs.

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

A spokesperson for the online retail giant said all workers at the affected sites will be offered roles at other existing Amazon locations.

Amazon has also unveiled plans for two new major fulfilment centres in Peddimore in the West Midlands and Stockton-on-Tees in County Durham. It said the new centres will create 2,500 jobs over the next three years.

The closures will impact 1,200 jobs (Photo: Getty Images)The closures will impact 1,200 jobs (Photo: Getty Images)
The closures will impact 1,200 jobs (Photo: Getty Images)

A spokesman for the company said in a statement: “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.”

18,000 jobs to be axed worldwide

The closure plans come just over a week after Amazon said it is cutting more than 18,000 jobs worldwide in the largest layoffs programme in its history. The jobs cuts will include the UK and Europe, but the company is yet to confirm how each country will be affected as part of the plans to slash costs.

Amazon employs around 1.5 million people globally and had previously warned in November of job losses 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 due to the pressure of dampening demand and recession fears.

The online retailer 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 recruited 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” and said the announcement had been brought forward after one of its employees leaked the details.

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

Amazon’s job cuts 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 25 January in a dispute over pay after voting in favour of taking industrial action.