Recess was not as relaxing as I hoped as like many, the dreaded man flu took its toll. But it’s back into the old routine and off to Westminster this morning. It’s a slow day which belies the storm that’s brewing. News is beginning to filter through that Amazon are closing their fulfilment centre in Gourock. I reached out to them but got no response.
The expected email arrived, and Amazon confirmed that they are in negotiations regarding the closure of their Gourock site. Nationally they are reporting that they are closing sites in Gourock, Doncaster and Hemel Hempstead while opening two news sites in Peddimore and Stockton-on-Tees. The majority of my day was then consumed with satisfying the insatiable appetite from the media to speculate about the future of the site and the outcome for its employees. So, while TV and radio interviews came and went, I also had a meeting with Amazon. What angers me most is that the plans in place have obviously taken a long time to mature and yet last November I was assured there was no risk to jobs in Gourock. Scottish Enterprise, Skills Development Scotland and PACE stand ready to help as soon as Amazon have provided details pertaining to redundancies. I had an interview with Tortoise Media about paid political lobbyists. Elected members of the U.K. Parliament being paid by the gambling industry to influence the laws around gambling is not healthy and is potentially abuse of the system. The All-Party Parliamentary Group on commercial sexual exploitation had its Annual General Meeting, and we put in place office bearers and a strategy for the year. We will be attempting to amend the online safety bill next Tuesday to allow people to have images of themselves removed from the internet.
I am delighted with the number and quality of employers that have approached me offering the possibility of employment for those being made redundant at Amazon. It will take a few days for the situation to become clearer but hopefully we will be able to employ as many as possible in inverclyde or as near to 300 as possible. I was on the Order Paper for questions to the Secretary of State for Scotland and I pressed him to clarify if we were working towards a consensus, as he said that was what facilitated a referendum in 2014, or is he content to deny the people of Scotland their right to a democratic voice while we remain part of the U.K.? I met with the landlord of the Amazon site to discuss the future use of the site once it becomes available. It was a far more inspiring meeting than I expected, and we have already identified two possible opportunities. In the evening I attended the Greenock West and Cardwell Bay community council meeting.,
Along with meetings with constituents I also met with representatives of companies that have potential vacancies to be filled. While the obvious starting point is the 300 people being made redundant by Amazon, I am well aware that many other people are seeking employment in Inverclyde. To this end, I am organising a jobs fair that will bring together prospective employers under one roof. Hopefully together we can help many people find gainful employment, including those being made redundant by Amazon. In the evening I attended the Inverkip and Wemyss Bay community council.
The day started with a budget briefing from Inverclyde council followed immediately with a meeting to discuss the situation at the Amazon fulfilment centre in Gourock. At this stage I have engaged with Amazon, their landlords, six local employers, the local college, the GMB, the Scottish government, Scottish Enterprise, Skills Development Scotland and the Partnership Action for Continuing Employment. I then met with the new Police Chief Inspector Damian Kane. I visited Berry Global in Port Glasgow to discuss their business post covid and moving forward. There are still ongoing issues around the residents of Sir Gabriel Wood Court and their energy supply and my office are helping all involved to come to a better outcome. I met with residents today. In the evening I gave a talk on constituency border changes, the assault on workers’ rights and your ability to legally protest.
I am looking forward to attending the RSNO Viennese Gala at the Beacon Arts Centre on Saturday.