Amazon has said it will hire 100,000 warehouse and delivery workers in the US to deal with a surge in sales during the coronavirus pandemic. The online retail giant also said it would increase pay for its staff in the UK, US and Europe.
The company’s delivery systems have come under pressure as consumers avoid shops and stock up online instead. The outbreak, which has led to more than 7,000 deaths globally, has prompted lockdowns around the world. Like Amazon, US supermarket chains, including Albertsons, Kroger and Raley’s, are hiring extra workers as they see online demand rise. They are turning to people who had been working in the restaurant, travel and entertainment industries but are now out of work because of the outbreak.
“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’s senior vice president of worldwide operations Dave Clark said in a blog post. Amazon said it would increase hourly wages by $2 in the US, £2 in the UK, and €2 in Europe. The company said it expects pay rises expected to cost it more than $350m (£285m).
The company did not say whether it would also be taking on new workers in the UK. Last week Amazon said it would provide up to two weeks of pay to all employees diagnosed with the coronavirus, and set up a $25m fund to support its independent delivery service partners and drivers. There have been more than 182,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus globally and more than 7,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.