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Industrial GMB slams Amazon for closing Rugeley site following strikes

Industrial reporter

MOVES by Amazon bosses to shut a strike-hit warehouse in the West Midlands are “spiteful and reckless,” the GMB union said on Friday.

The US-owned online retail giant has confirmed plans to permanently close its Rugeley fulfilment centre and move operations to a new site in Sutton Coldfield.

Each of the 1,000 workers affected will be offered a chance to relocate to the new facility, at Peddimore on the edge of Minworth, the company claimed.

Regional director Neil Travis said: “The West Midlands is an important region for Amazon and I am delighted to confirm our commitment with this £500 million investment in a new state-of-the-art fulfilment centre in Sutton Coldfield.

“The new site will create 400 new jobs for this year, taking our total workforce in the West Midlands to more than 4,000 full and part-time roles.”

But GMB noted that the surprise move followed a two-day walkout earlier this month after the firm — one of the wealthiest on Earth — offered workers a “derisory” 50p wage rise last year.

The action made the site just the second British-based Amazon centre to begin industrial action after the union’s members in nearby Coventry launched ground-breaking strikes in January.

GMB organiser Rachel Fagan said: “This is yet another example of the contempt Amazon has for its own workforce — this closure is spiteful and reckless.

“Earlier this year Amazon were briefing the press with stories of huge investments [at Rugeley]. Before long they were warning hundreds of local people they could soon be out of work. 

“Workers deserve decent pay and job security. Amazon are yet again putting workers in a desperate situation.”

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