Independent retailers cannot compete with Amazon, Bira warns

The British Independent Retail Association (Bira) is warning that independent retailers will not be able to compete with Amazon’s Christmas bonuses. 

Amazon employees in its Exeter site are set to receive an offer of up to £3000 as a one-time bonus if they agree to work for the retail giant this holiday season. 

Whereas, workers in its Peterborough site are being offered a sign-up bonus of £1500.  

Bira chief executive Andrew Goodacre said that independent stores are “concerned by the level of wage inflation” that larger companies can afford to incentivise a higher level of staff.  

He added that retailers are currently struggling to find employees due to the absence of seasonal workers thanks to Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic.  

READ MORE: M&S to hire 12,000 employees this Christmas

“This kind of action from Amazon will make it harder still for smaller companies who simply cannot afford such wages,” Goodacre said.  

Trade union GMB national officer Mick Rix disagreed with Bira and said that Amazon employees deserve to share in the company’s profits after a lengthy documented history of poor working conditions and low pay. 

“Amazon has been a pandemic profiteer – raking in astronomical sums during the Covid crisis,” Rix said.  

“It is only right that they listen to the union representatives of their workforce and ensure that Amazon workers share in the vast profits that the company are making.”  

A warehouse worker for Amazon told the BBC that this is “not the first time” incentives have been offered. 

He added: “It leaves workers who have been there for years feeling rather undervalued and underappreciated. 

“They are training people who are making more money than them, which definitely ticks off the longer-term employees.” 

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