Amazon already has 16 fulfilment centres in the UK to handle orders for customers and within its marketplace. It has come under fire for imposing harsh working conditions, including tough performance targets for people who have to get goods ready for delivery; however, Amazon has rejected any suggestion of poor working practices and said the work on offer at its new centre in Rugby is attractive.
UK customer fulfilment director Stefano Perego said the company is delighted to be expanding in the Midlands. It already employs more than 2,500 at its centres in Rugeley, Daventry and Coalville; now, another 400 permanent roles will be created in Rugby. Mr Perego said employees can enjoy competitive wages and a comprehensive package of benefits from day one.
The new warehouse in Rugby will be recruiting engineers, managers, IT and HR specialists in addition to people to fulfil the orders.
Amazon said the pay rate for permanent employees goes up after their first two years with the company, when all staff earn at least £8.35 an hour. All permanent employees at the fulfilment centres also get stock grants, which have been worth an average of £1,000 a year over the past five years. Other benefits include private medical insurance, subsidised meals, employee discounts, life assurance, and a company pension plan.
Welcome as these new opportunities are, a report by the Centre for Cities warns such jobs are at risk due to increasing automation and globalisation. The report warns that workers in the North and the Midlands are most at risk of losing out and calculates that one in five jobs in cities across Britain are likely to be lost by 2030 as technology advances.
This move has already begun, with Ocado unveiling C-3PO robots to work in its warehouses and reduce its reliance on human employees. Amazon is also looking at ways to minimise its human workforce. There are no checkouts at the Amazon Go store that recently opened in Seattle, for example; instead, goods are bought and paid for by an app.
British Retail Consortium (BRC) chief executive Helen Dickinson said her organisation’s data has also revealed that there are fewer UK retail jobs, adding that the new report shows the impact that automation is having on the retail sector. Latest employment figures from the BRC show a reduction in jobs, with the retail sector investing in technology to reduce its labour costs.
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