Amazon CEO says the company will cut more than 18,000 jobs | CBC News

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Amazon’s layoffs will now rise to more than 18,000 positions as part of a previously disclosed workforce reduction, Chief Executive Officer Andy Jassy said in a public note to staff Wednesday.

The layoff decisions, which Amazon will communicate starting January 18, will greatly affect the company’s human resources and e-commerce organizations, he said. Jassy’s note did not specify in which countries the cuts will occur.

CBC News has reached out to the company to ask if employees in Canada will be affected by the layoffs. The company attached Jassy’s note in response.

The cuts amount to six percent of Amazon’s corporate workforce of about 300,000, and represent a quick turnaround for a retailer that recently doubled its base salary cap to compete more aggressively for talent.

Amazon has more than 1.5 million workers worldwide, including warehouse staff, and is the second-largest private employer in the US, after Walmart.

Its shares rose 1.8 percent to US$86.71 in premarket trading on Thursday.

‘We don’t know how this will affect us’: unions

A spokesman for the London-based GMB union said it was aware of the job cuts but its members would not be affected by the plans.

Union members working at Amazon’s Coventry warehouse in central England plan to stage a strike on January 25 over a pay dispute with the e-commerce giant.

Amazon’s impending round of layoffs will greatly affect workers in its e-commerce and human resources operations. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Laurent Degoussee of the SUD union in France said the plans would not affect the company’s Amazon Logistique France unit.

Douglas Harper, spokesman for Spain’s largest union, CCOO, criticized what he said was a complete lack of information from the company.

“We don’t know how this will affect us in Spain,” Harper told Reuters. “We can assume that this is the first step prior to layoffs in the rest of the operations, not only in the corporate workforce, but we do not have any official data.”

CLOCK | Big tech hit by recessions and layoffs:

Uncertainty hits big tech with recessions and layoffs

After years of steady growth, global tech stocks and cryptocurrency prices are falling, leading to layoffs and hiring freezes at notable companies.

Jassy said in the note that annual planning “has been more difficult given the economic uncertainty and that we have hired quickly in recent years.”

Amazon has braced for likely slower growth as skyrocketing inflation encouraged businesses and consumers to cut spending. Its share price has halved in the past year.

The company began laying off staff in November from its devices division, and a source told Reuters at the time that it was aiming for around 10,000 cuts.

Wave of tech layoffs will continue

The global tech industry laid off more than 150,000 workers in 2022, according to the tracking site, a number that continues to grow.

Salesforce said Wednesday that it planned to cut about 10 percent of staff globally, or about 8,000 people, starting October 31.

Amazon’s turnaround has been harsh. It went from a business deemed essential during the pandemic to deliver goods to closed homes, to a business that overbuilt for demand.

Their layoffs now exceed the 11,000 cuts announced last year by Facebook’s parent company, Meta.

the sunday magazine12:44 p.m.What the layoffs at Twitter and Meta could mean for the future of Big Tech

Nearly 15,000 technology workers were laid off this month at two of the world’s largest social media companies as Twitter and Facebook parent company Meta make big changes they say are necessary to stay competitive. But science fiction author, activist and writer Cory Doctorow believes the layoffs are just the latest example of workers bearing the brunt of bad decisions by tech billionaires. Doctorow joins Piya Chattopadhyay to discuss her new book, Chokepoint Capitalism, which explores the fight for better labor standards at Big Tech and advocates for collective action to keep the Elon Musks and Mark Zuckerbergs of the world at bay.

Jassy’s note followed a report in the Wall Street Journal that the reduction would be more than 17,000 jobs. She said Amazon chose to release the news before informing affected staff because of a leak.

Amazon has yet to file certain legal notices about mass layoffs and plans to pay severance.

Jassy said, “Amazon has weathered uncertain and difficult economies in the past, and we will continue to do so.”

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