Greenock Telegraph 13th January

About 20 years ago I was made redundant. I have never forgotten what it felt like. On Tuesday I was notified that Amazon were in consultation with their associates about closing their fulfilment site in Gourock. That’s management speak for we are going through the process as defined in employment law to make 300 people redundant. I feel their pain but it’s greater than mine was. Theirs comes on the back of years of Tory austerity, the damage to the economy from Brexit, soaring energy bills and the increasing cost of living, not to mention the hard work and dedication they showed during Covid being thrown back in their face. The Gourock site is deemed superfluous. I have met with Amazon and pressed them to explain their decision, but they couldn’t. Amazon plan to open two news plants in England so I asked if they had considered making that investment in Inverclyde. They wouldn’t say. I am sure that Amazon will have made their decisions on cold hard facts, they will want to protect their place in the market. Their founder, Jeff Bezos didn’t make his personal fortune of 109 billion US dollars by being anything other than a hard-nosed businessman. But their workforce deserves to be told the facts, they deserve to be treated with respect and kindness. It’s not an easy situation for anyone but corporate decisions affect daily lives and multi nationals like Amazon must be accountable. I am angry that Jeff Bezos has accumulated massive wealth while he treats his workforce so badly.  I am furious that for years his company has been allowed to avoid paying its fair share of tax. In inverclyde we need to learn lessons and we should be encouraging local companies to grow and deepen their roots in inverclyde. We need to nurture small companies and provide incubation units where they can develop and mature. We need to invest in our own future and that of future generations. We need to plant seeds because if we don’t, then it’s clear to see that nobody is going to do it for us.