Amazon warehouse staff and delivery drivers will get a £2-an-hour pay rise in recognition for their work during the coronavirus lockdown, the company said.
UK boss Doug Gurr wrote to customers on Tuesday explaining that the online retail giant has also upgraded its warehouses to Government standards on social distancing.
More than 150 changes have been made, based on World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines, he added.
We’ve increased the frequency and intensity of cleaning at our sites, adjusted our practices so that our employees can observe social distancing measures, and we are providing temperature checks, as well as masks and gloves.Doug Gurr, Amazon UK
The letter comes as Amazon faces battles at its French operations, which are currently closed after a court ruled the company must only sell essential products, while staff have staged protests over virus safety fears in warehouses.
Mr Gurr wrote: “We’ve increased the frequency and intensity of cleaning at our sites, adjusted our practices so that our employees can observe social distancing measures, and we are providing temperature checks, as well as masks and gloves.”
He added: “In recognition of their incredible contribution, we’ve increased the pay for employees in our fulfilment centres and delivery roles, adding a further £2 per hour on top of our current starting rate of £10.50 for the London area and £9.50 for the rest of the UK.”
A further 5,000 full and part-time jobs have also been created to help ease the expected surge in unemployment, the company said.
Amazon has operated throughout the lockdown, although deliveries have been delayed and some non-essential products were removed from sale.
The company also told customers it is working with the Government to help boost testing capacity for Covid-19 in the UK.
Mr Gurr said: “Along with other partners, the Amazon logistics network is delivering test kits to diagnostic sites set up around the UK and to NHS staff and others on the front lines of this crisis.”
He added that Amazon has committed £3.2 million to a fund, including support for local communities where its staff live and work, and a donation to the British Red Cross.
Previously, the company said it will give employees diagnosed with Covid-19 up to two weeks of pay, and has set up a fund for the contractors it uses for delivery and seasonal work.