Small businesses have condemned Amazon’s signup incentives whereby it offers potential workers large sums of money to ease its own worker shortage.
The ecommerce giant announced earlier this month it was handing out signing-up bonuses of up to £3,000 in some areas of the country to attract workers.
The Food and Drink Federation have claimed that there is a “battle for labour” in the lead-up to Christmas, with Amazon attempting to recruit an extra 20,000 temporary staff.
A large proportion of retailers are unable to compete with the financial muscle of the ecoomerce behemoth, with many predicting it will lead to further shortages.
The Food and Drink Federation chief executive Ian Wright said that the Amazon sign-up bonuses were a “knock-out blow” for smaller companies.
“There isn’t a vast reservoir of British workers just waiting to be fought over,” he said.
“It’s incredibly difficult to get Christmas staff labour in many areas.”
“It will mean higher prices and fewer choices on shelves. Suppliers will almost certainly produce shorter runs of product and if they can, they will look at higher prices.”
The firm’s Exeter warehouse is offering the highest sign-up bonus, with workers being offered up to £3,000 to join before Christmas.
Amazon’s Weybridge warehouse follows closely, with staff being offered £2,000.
An Amazon spokesperson said: “Amazon is hiring for seasonal positions across its UK network during the festive season.
“We are also currently offering a sign-on bonus at a number of locations to attract new permanent and seasonal associates.”
Christmas has been labeled a potential “nightmare for consumers” by retail analyst Clive Black, with both the labour shortages and bottlenecks likely to exacerbate the situation.
Kate Martin, of the Traditional Farm Fresh Turkey Association, has warned that there are likely to be fewer turkeys on supermarket shelves this year because of the shortage of workers to process them.
Supermarket chain Iceland has since reported a surge in the sales of frozen turkeys.