The news that comes as no surprise at all

After two long years and two contentious planning applications, Havant Borough Council’s ‘dirty little secret’ is finally out in the open. The new Amazon delivery centre servicing Portsmouth and all point west to Southampton, north to Guildford and east to Bognor really is in New Lane.

It would have been nice if Havant Borough Council had let the residents know, but expectations of their communication and engagement skills were never particularly high.

Sourced from ‘The Times’ – Alex Ralph, Wednesday 11 January, 2023

Amazon’s three UK warehouse closures put jobs in peril at American e-commerce giant

“Amazon plans to shut three UK warehouses, putting about 1,200 jobs at risk and further straining relations with union bosses.

The American ecommerce giant has launched consultations over the closure of sites this year in Hemel Hempstead, Doncaster, and Gourock in Scotland. But it said all workers at the sites would be offered roles at other Amazon locations and also revealed plans for two new sites in Sutton Coldfield, in the West Midlands, and Stockton-on-Tees, Co Durham, which will have the opportunity to transfer to other stations.

Amazon also announced the closure of seven delivery stations. The sites employ at the most a few dozen workers and staff will have the opportunity to transfer to other stations.

A spokesman said: “Amazon will open new delivery stations in Havant [Hampshire] and Aylesford [Kent]. They will replace existing, older delivery stations in Portsmouth and Aylesford. A further five delivery stations in Huntingdon [Cambridgeshirel, Horley [Surrey], Newcastle, Birmingham and Hemel Hempstead will also close.”

The plans prompted the GMB union to call it “a real kick in the teeth for Amazon staff who worked themselves into the ground during the festive rush”.

Workers at Amazon’s distribution centre in Tilbury, Essex, are said to be close to balloting for strike action over pay, and Stuart Richards, an official at GMB, told The Sunday Times he expected this to be followed at other centres operated by Amazon. The company, which refuses to recognise trade unions, is facing unrest after it raised pay by as little as 35p an hour at some sites last summer. It has subsequently given employees a £500 one-off bonus. Workers at its internal distribution centre in Coventry, which employs 2,000 people, are set to stage the first organised strike at an Amazon facility this month after 180 members of the GMB union balloted for industrial action.”

And from ‘The Times’, 10 January 2023:

Amazon is shutting three of its British warehouses in a move that will affect 1,200 jobs.

The world’s biggest retailer has begun consultation on the closure of sites in Hemel Hempstead, Doncaster and Gourock, Inverclyde. It said that all workers would be offered roles at other Amazon locations.

Two new warehouses, which the company calls “fulfilment centres”, are planned in Peddimore, West Midlands, and Stockton-on-Tees, Co Durham, which Amazon said would create 2,500 jobs over the next three years.

The roughly 500 employees working at Hemel Hempstead will be offered roles at the nearby Dunstable warehouse or other nearby locations, while the company plans to move the 400 at the Balby Carr Bank site in Doncaster to its two fulfilment centres at Doncaster’s iPort. The proposals also affect about 300 workers at Gourock.

Amazon has more than 20 warehouses across the UK, alongside its research and development operations in Cambridge, Edinburgh and London, a corporate office in Manchester and Amazon Web Services data centres in London.

The move comes two days after Amazon, which is based in Seattle, announced it was cutting more than 18,000 jobs, the biggest round of lay-offs by a technology giant yet.

The company rode a surge in demand at the height of the pandemic and recruited rapidly, bringing its workforce to more than 1.5 million workers, including about 300,000 corporate employees. It is now trying to cut costs amid cooling demand and fears of recession.

Amazon 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.

What does this mean for Havant and New Lane?

Well it means that we’ve lost a valuable sustainable manufacturing site for another few years. We’ll give it ten years at the outside before Amazon’s constant re-evaluation of its UK distribution network reviews the commercial viability of the New Lane site. When that happens, the demolition contract for that mountain of steel at 32 New Lane will be up for grabs again. By that time, the HBC staff and elected councillors who put it there will all have moved on, leaving the problem for somebody else to clean up.

Rather too many lost opportunities.