As more and more countries go into lockdown, people are turning to Amazon and other online retailers to order groceries and other supplies.
In response, Amazon has gone on a hiring spree and is looking to increase its warehouse and delivery workforce by 100,000 staff to meet a surge in orders during the current pandemic. The company has said it will raise hourly rates by £2 in the UK, €2 in Europe and $2 in the US for all staff.
Speaking to The Independent, a spokesperson for Amazon said, “We are temporarily prioritising household staples, medical supplies and other high-demand products coming into our fulfilment centres so we can more quickly receive, restock, and ship these products to customers”. This change will be in place until 5 April, meaning that independent sellers which supply other items to Amazon won’t be able to do so until that date, which itself may change.
To clarify, it’s business as usual for Amazon, so you can continue to order all types of items and have them safely delivered to your doorstep. However, since it will not be restocking items that are not a priority from third-party sellers, certain items might be unavailable once they are sold out. The high-demand items are cleaning supplies and other products related to the virus.
Coronavirus is having a major impact on just about every industry, delaying movie releases and causing tech companies to rethink events and product launches.
But it is hoped that some of those currently unable to work will benefit from Amazon’s need for extra workers.
In a blog post Amazon’s SVP 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.”
Amazon has also introduced measures to try to prevent the spread of the disease for those still working in its offices and distribution centres. It also announced that it would offer up to two weeks’ pay for staff off sick with the virus and offer paid and unpaid time off options.