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Future of Work

Online retailing giant Amazon has urged US workers who’ve lost jobs because of the coronavirus slowdown to apply for as many as 75,000 jobs it is offering.

The company also said it would ease its temporary curbs on non-essential goods being sold on its platforms. Last month, Amazon took on 100,000 extra US staff to fill priority online orders for food and medical equipment for existing customers.

But it still has a waiting list for new customers. Amazon said it would now allow more non-essential items from third-party sellers, who make up the majority of sales on its site.

“Products will be limited by quantity to enable us to continue prioritising products and protecting employees, while also ensuring most selling partners can ship goods into our facilities,” Amazon said in a statement to the Financial Times.

Millions of Americans have lost their jobs because of the coronavirus lockdowns, with more than 16 million submitting unemployment claims.

On its blog about its response to the coronavirus, Amazon said that the fresh hires – all warehouse roles – could tide over workers in sectors such as hospitality, restaurants, and travel.

“We welcome anyone out of work to join us at Amazon until things return to normal and their past employer is able to bring them back,” it said.

Amazon has faced protests from current warehouse staff over whether it has provided adequate protection from coronavirus infections at its warehouses.

More than 50 Amazon locations have confirmed coronavirus cases, according to the Financial Times.

In March, Amazon fired a New York warehouse worker who organised a protest over an alleged lack of safety precautions.

But in the blog post, Amazon said it has made changes to work conditions including enhanced testing, cleaning and social distancing as well as issued protective gear and started temperature checks at operations worldwide.

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