What it's like to work in Swindon's giant Amazon warehouse

  • Watch Caron Bell's report

The giant Amazon fulfilment centre in Swindon is marking its first anniversary and preparing for its busiest time of year.

The size of seven football pitches, and employing 2500 people, the centre provided much-needed jobs in Swindon when it opened in November 2021.

At the time, the area was still reeling from the closure of the town's Honda plant in July, which saw 3500 redundancies.

Although Amazon says it has no official record of how many ex-Honda workers it employs, anecdotal evidence suggests there are around 200.

"I was wondering, where is my next job going to come from?", Amir Ali, an Amazon employee who worked at Honda for 27 years, said.

"Especially working in a place for that long; I'm looking for a permanent job. And then three months later, Amazon opened the site and they gave me a permanent job and I'm happy here, you know."

Amir Ali joined Amazon a year ago, having worked at Honda for 27 years. Credit: ITV West Country

Amazon workers' days can be long - Amir's shift in the incoming goods department runs from 7:45am to 6:15pm, with two half-hour breaks. The site has a subsidised canteen and a games area.

Other workers have complained about low pay. The lowest paid permanent staff at the Swindon centre are on £11.45 an hour, and will receive a Christmas bonus of up to £500. But in August, some Swindon employees went on strike, demanding £15 an hour.

"I'm very proud of what we pay at the moment", said General Manager David Tindal.

"We're having no problems encouraging individuals to come and work here and I think it's a very competitive offering."

Thousands of blue robots transport pallets of goods to and from manned packing stations. Credit: ITV West Country

Many of the roles at the centre are performed by robots - thousands of them transport pallets of goods around the building, while humans do the packing and processing of the goods themselves. Parcels are then sent out to Amazon delivery centres round the UK.

Temporary extra staff will be hired in ahead of Black Friday and Christmas - traditionally Amazon's busiest time of year.