Amazon delivers Christmas bonus to Northern Ireland staff


AMAZON workers in Northern Ireland are in line for an up to £300-a-head Christmas bonus.

It comes as the US e-commerce giant has set aside $500 million for its frontline staff after the company recorded a stellar year of sales during the pandemic.

In a blog post, senior vice president of Amazon Worldwide Operations Dave Clark said the money would go to full-time and part-time staff who are employed by the company between December 1 and December 31.

Full-time frontline employees in the UK and the US will receive £300 or 300 dollars, while part-time staff will be eligible for £150 or 150 dollars.

Amazon, run by Jeff Bezos, the world's richest man, has more than 40 permanent staff at its new delivery station in Belfast Harbour Estate.

In September it confirmed that it would recruit 150 people in Northern Ireland for seasonal support roles for the Christmas period.

The company recorded a net income of $6.3 billion (£4.73 billion) in the three months to September 30 - up from $2.1 billion (£1.58 billion) in the third quarter of last year.

By the end of the year, Amazon will have recruited 10,000 extra UK staff to cope with the uptick in sales stemming from the pandemic.

In his post, Mr Clark said he was "grateful" for the efforts of Amazon employees through what has been a "unique" year.

He said: "Combined with other holiday pay incentives, in this quarter alone we are investing over $750 million in additional pay for our front-line hourly workforce.

"This brings our total spent on special bonuses and incentives for our teams globally to over $2.5 billion in 2020, including a $500 million thank you bonus earlier this year.

"Our teams are doing amazing work serving customers' essential needs, while also helping to bring some much-needed holiday cheer for socially-distanced families around the world. I've never been more grateful for - or proud of - our teams."

The company faced criticism over work conditions earlier this year, with the company hit with strikes from workers in France and Italy over virus safety concerns. In April, a row over sanitary working conditions forced the company to temporarily shut six of its warehouses in France.

Amazon has since said it has made more than 150 "significant" process changes to ensure the health and safety of its staff, from enhanced cleaning and social distancing measures to the distribution of personal protective equipment (PPE) and the implementation of temperature checks.

The company has also rolled out a pilot programme offering Covid-19 testing for its frontline workers in the UK.

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