Scottish Government strives to save Amazon Inverclyde location

Written by Ruaraidh Gilmour on 12 January 2023 in News
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Minister vows to ‘leave no stone unturned’ in bid to safeguard 300 jobs at facility run by tech giant in coastal town of Gourock

Credit: Thomas Nugent/CC BY-SA 2.0

A minister has pledged that the Scottish Government “will leave no stone unturned” in efforts to save a facility in the town of Gourock run by tech giant Amazon

Ivan McKee, the minister for business, trade, tourism and enterprise was this week asked an urgent question in the Scottish Parliament after it was announced that the online retail and cloud services firm would be closing the west of Scotland location.  

The closure will see a loss of 300 jobs in the local Inverclyde area, but McKee was keen to emphasise his willingness to try to stop the job losses. McKee met with Amazon officials yesterday and asked any other members of parliament with information that may help to come forward. It is understood all workers at the fulfilment centre will be offered posts at other Amazon sites.

McKee said: “If there are opportunities where further investment can be made to get the site to a position where it is, in Amazon’s view, contributing to their operational footprint, then I would be very keen to explore those.”  

Kenneth Gibson MSP said that MSP for Greenock and Inverclyde, Stuart McMillian’s staff and Ronnie Cowan MP met with Amazon management and some of the affected employees. 

Gibson, who is the MSP for Cunninghame North, an area where some of the affected workforce reside, said: “Amazon today said that the Gourock site is one of the older sites, and questioned the suitability and viability. These concerns have never been raised with the local MSP or MP on past site visits.”


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Jamie Greene MSP, who is a resident of Greenock, told the chamber: “Inverclyde is resilient and will survive any economic challenges that it faces, but this is such a major local employer it will surely have a devasting impact.” He asked the minister if he would give serious consideration to the set-up of an immediate bespoke multi-agency taskforce that would bring together Amazon, the local authority, governance, other public body agencies, and political parties to see what can be done in the immediate to support the people of Inverclyde.

McKee pointed out that the Inverclyde taskforce is in operation and “will be meeting very soon and is probably the best place where we can have that discussion about what can be done”.  He added: “I would rather work that through the taskforce that is already in place, rather than set up a separate group at this stage.”

An Amazon spokesperson 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. We also plan to open two new fulfilment centres creating 2,500 new jobs over the next three years. 

“All employees affected by site closure consultations will be offered the opportunity to transfer to other company facilities, and we remain committed to our customers, employees, and communities across the UK. We appreciate this will be a difficult time for our people in Gourock and are committed to supporting them through this consultation. All will be offered alternative roles at other Amazon sites. We will also provide a range of retraining and re-skilling opportunities for those who decide to pursue their career outside of Amazon.”

 

About the author

Ruaraidh Gilmour is a reporter at PublicTechnology sister publication Holyrood, where a version of this story first appeared. He tweets as @Ruaraidh0.

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