BOOKS: Bishop’s plea to books giant Amazon not to shut centre with loss of 300 jobs

Amazon sign

By Lucy Ashton

A Catholic bishop has appealed to Amazon to abandon a proposal to close its warehouse with the loss of more than 300 jobs.

Reacting to the proposed closure of the Amazon warehouse in Gourock, the Bishop of Paisley, Bishop John Keenan, whose diocese includes Inverclyde, said it would amount to “a severe blow to families and the local economy”.

He added: “I was both disappointed and saddened to hear of the proposed closure of Amazon’s facility in Gourock and the high number of local job losses this will entail.
“Even at this late stage, I would encourage Amazon to reconsider the proposal which will have such an impact on so many local families in already challenging times.
“Inverclyde has suffered greatly in recent times and this is another severe blow to families and the local economy.”

Bishop Keenan, pictured right,  added:  “I hope that the Scottish Government will work to bring new jobs to the area and I am confident that Inverclyde Council will do what it can to help improve the work situation in Inverclyde.

“My heart is with the people of Inverclyde and, as a Church, we offer the support of our prayers to anxious families as well as our practical help, if needed, through the various agencies in our local parishes.”
On Monday, Amazon confirmed plans to close its distribution centre across the Firth of Clyde in Gourock, putting about 300 jobs at risk.

The online retail giant has launched a consultation with staff, but has yet to provide details of when the base will close.

The Inverclyde site is one of three fulfilment centres earmarked for closure in the UK.

It is understood that all workers at the sites will be offered roles at other Amazon locations.

The move comes a few days after Amazon announced plans to cut more than 18,000 jobs globally from its consumer retail business and human resources division, although it is understood the Gourock closure is separate from those plans.

An Amazon spokeswoman said: “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.

“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.”

The company, which has not so far responded to Bishop Keenan’s intervention, added that it also planned to open two new fulfillment centres – in Peddimore, West Midlands, and Stockton-on-Tees, County Durham – creating 2,500 new jobs over the next three years.

Inverclyde MP Ronnie Cowan said he was seeking urgent talks with Amazon over its plans to close the Gourock warehouse.

He tweeted: “On the global scale of Amazon’s business, I am at a loss as to how this will benefit the company going forward.

“Over many years Amazon has benefited from a loyal, committed and productive workforce in Gourock and whatever the reasons for this decision, it cannot be any reflection on the workforce.

“It goes without saying that in the midst of a cost of living crisis this will come as a hammer blow to the staff and their families.

“Amazon has said it will try to redeploy workers but has so far given me no hard commitments.”

Leave a Reply