Amazon has indicated it will be bringing on an extra 100,000 staff in the US to cope with the influx of demand brought about by the coronavirus.
With cities increasingly locked down in a bid to keep the virus from spreading, many have turned to online shopping in order to get hold of items. Amazon has indicated it will bring on staff to work in its warehouses as well as through its distribution channels.
Dave Clark, Amazon’s senior vice president of worldwide operations said: ‘We are opening 100,000 new full and part-time positions across the U.S. in our fulfillment centers and delivery network to meet the surge in demand from people relying on Amazon’s service during this stressful time, particularly those most vulnerable to being out in public.
‘We also know many people have been economically impacted as jobs in areas like hospitality, restaurants, and travel are lost or furloughed as part of this crisis. We want those people to know we welcome them on our teams until things return to normal and their past employer is able to bring them back.’
Clark also said that Amazon will be raising the wages of those employees who work through the crisis.
‘We want to recognize our employees who are playing an essential role for people at a time when many of the services that might normally be there to support them are closed,’ he said.
‘In the U.S., we will be adding an additional $2 USD per hour worked through April from our current rate of $15/hour or more, depending on the region, £2 per hour in the UK, and approximately €2 per hour in many EU countries.
‘This commitment to increased pay through the end of April represents an investment of over $350 million in increased compensation for hourly employees across the U.S., Europe, and Canada.’
It’s not yet clear whether or not Amazon will be hiring additional workers here in the UK. Metro.co.uk has approached Amazon for clarification and we will update this article when we receive a response.
‘Health and safety are a top priority with all of our roles and sites,’ Clark added. ‘We continue to consult with medical and health experts, and take all recommended precautions in our buildings and stores to keep people healthy. We’ve taken measures to promote social distancing in the workplace and taken on enhanced and frequent cleaning, to name just a few.’
The decision comes at a time when many businesses are contemplating their survival in the wake of coronavirus.
Pubs and restaurant owners are calling for immediate action to support the industry financially after Prime Minister Boris Johnson advised people not to go out but stopped short of ordering entertainment venues to close.
British Beer and Pub Association chief executive Emma McClarkin said: ‘The UK pub and brewing industry is tonight facing an existential crisis as a direct result of the guidance issued by the Government today.
‘Thousands of pubs and hundreds of thousands of jobs will be lost in the very short term unless a proactive package creating cash and liquidity is provided immediately to the industry. Forced pub closures without a meaningful support package will have a catastrophic financial and social impact.’
Meanwhile, Amazon said this weekend that a surge of orders was putting its operations under pressure, and warned shoppers it could take longer than the usual two days to receive packages.
It also said it was sold out of many household cleaning supplies and was working to get more in stock.
Last week, Amazon changed its time-off policy for hourly workers, telling them they could take as much time off as they wanted in March, although they would only be paid if they had earned time off.
Amazon also said it would pay hourly workers for up to two weeks if they contracted the virus or needed to be quarantined.
Amazon is already the second-largest US-based employer behind Walmart, with nearly 800,000 workers worldwide.
Elsewhere, the biggest names in the technology industry issued a joint statement saying they are working together to try and halt the spread of misinformation around the coronavirus pandemic.
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