Hundreds of new UK jobs at Amazon created for busy Christmas period

Online retailer Amazon has announced plans to create 800 new jobs as it gets ready for the busy Christmas period.

The new roles will be created before the end of the year and are permanent jobs based in the UK.

Its temporary workers will be given the chance to take up the new permanent positions which will offer guaranteed hours, as opposed to zero-hour contracts.

Meanwhile, Amazon has also announced changes to shift patterns at its distribution centres.

Instead of eight-hour shifts across five days, the company is switching to 10-hour shifts over four days.

"Having recently reviewed and improved pay rates and overall compensation packages, we are now moving to a four-day week which will provide employees with more days of free time and the potential for savings in terms of time and money," said Amazon's UK operations director, Catherine McDermott.

Of the company's plans for meeting heightened demand from Christmas shoppers, she said: "Every one of our employees will be working over the Christmas period to delight customers by delivering millions of items on a daily basis and we are pleased to be creating 800 new permanent roles in our centres ahead of the Christmas period."

Amazon already has a permanent workforce totalling more than 4,500 at its so-called fulfilment centres in the UK and it recently announced it will be hiring over 15,000 temporary workers for the festive shopping period.

The company has eight fulfilment centres, which are based in Doncaster, Dunfermline, Gourock near Glasgow, Hemel Hempstead, Milton Keynes, Peterborough, Rugeley and Swansea Bay.

After a huge expansion since it was founded in Seattle, Washington in 1994, the firm has grown to become a Fortune 100 company.

Millions of items are available through its website directly from Amazon and from other sellers, across categories such as books; movies; music and games; home and garden; kids and baby; electronics and computers; digital downloads; and toys.

Amazon boasts a mission to become "earth's most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online, and (it) endeavours to offer its customers the lowest possible prices".

Copyright Press Association 2013