AMAZON is hiring 5,000 new workers to cope with increased demand as coronavirus continues to spread across the UK.
The online shopping giant is also upping hourly pay as a thank you to delivery and warehouse workers.
The 5,000 new jobs include both full and part-time positions – providing opportunities for people looking for work because of the pandemic.
The pay rises are for all employees in its fulfilment centres and delivery roles.
The retail and tech giant is adding a further £2 per hour on top of its current starting rate of £10.50 for the London area.
The starting rate for the rest of the UK is usually £9.50, meaning staff will have their hourly rate bumped to £11.50.
UK Amazon boss Doug Gurr said in an email to custoemrs that the rises were in recognition of workers’ “incredible contribution” amid the coronavirus crisis.
He also explained that Amazon has also upgraded its warehouses to meet Government standards on social distancing.
More than 150 changes have been made, based on World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines.
Some of the changes include:
- increasing the frequency and intensity of cleaning at sites
- adjusting practices so that employees can observe social distancing measures
- providing temperature checks, as well as masks and gloves.
The letter comes as Amazon faces battles at its French operations, which are currently closed after a court ruled the company must only sell essential products.
Staff have also staged protests in warehouses over virus safety fears.
Amazon has operated throughout the lockdown, although deliveries have been delayed and some non-essential products are no longer on sale.
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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 £3.2 million 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.
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