Amazon is set to cut 18,000 jobs this year, across its global operation, as it attempts to cope in the “uncertain economy”.
Staff will learn if they face the axe from 18 January, with the majority of job losses in its physical stores including Amazon Fresh and Go, as well as from its human resources division. The ecommerce giant did not specify which country the job cuts would be, but said they would include Europe.
Amazon had revealed plans in November to lay off some 10,000 workers and said its latest announcement included those departures.
Andy Jassy, chief executive officer of Amazon, cited the “uncertain economy” for the cuts, explaining that the tech firm had “hired rapidly over several years.”
In a memo to staff he stressed: “We don’t take these decisions lightly or underestimate how much they might affect the lives of those who are impacted. Companies that last a long time go through different phases. They’re not in heavy people expansion mode every year.”
He also explained that Amazon had weathered “difficult economies” in the past and would continue to do so. “These changes will help us pursue our long-term opportunities with a stronger cost structure,” added Jassy.
Amazon had already frozen corporate hiring within its retail business. It had also announced the cutting back of its Echo and Alexa projects as well as the scrapping of its home delivery robot service, which was seen as other cost cutting measures.
While in the UK, workers at Amazon’s Coventry distribution centre have voted to strike demanding a pay rise to £15 an hour. Members of the GMB union opted to hold a second ballot in December after missing the 50% turnout threshold in September. This time the turnout was 63%, with 98% of those backing strike action, marking the first time Amazon workers in the UK have voted to do so. Workers will walk out on 25 January.