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Amazon CEO says layoffs will now exceed 18000 workers

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Amazon.com Inc’s AMZN-Q layoffs will now increase to more than 18,000 roles as part of a workforce reduction it previously disclosed, Chief Executive Andy Jassy said in a public staff note on Wednesday.

The layoff decisions, which Amazon will communicate starting Jan. 18, will largely impact the company’s e-commerce and human resources organizations, he said.

The cuts amount to 6 per cent of Amazon’s roughly 300,000-person corporate workforce and represent a swift turn for a retailer that recently doubled its base pay ceiling to compete more aggressively for talent.

Amazon has more than 1.5 million workers including warehouse staff, making it America’s second-largest private employer after Walmart Inc.

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Its stock was up 1.8 per cent at $86.71 in premarket trading on Thursday.

A spokesperson for London-based trade union GMB said it was aware of the job cuts, but that its members will not be affected by the plans.

Members belonging to the union who work at the Amazon warehouse in Coventry, central England, are planning to stage a walkout on Jan. 25 over a pay row with the e-commerce giant.

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

Douglas Harper, a spokesperson for Spain’s largest trade union CCOO, criticized what he said was a total 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 preceding layoffs in the rest of operations, not just the corporate workforce, but we don’t have any official data.”

Jassy said in the note that annual planning “has been more difficult given the uncertain economy and that we’ve hired rapidly over the last several years.”

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

The company began letting staff go in November from its devices division, with a source telling Reuters at the time it was targeting around 10,000 cuts.

The tech industry shed more than 150,000 workers in 2022, according to tracking site Layoffs.fyi, a number that’s continuing to grow.

Salesforce Inc said Wednesday it planned to eliminate about 10 per cent of staff, which numbered nearly 8,000 as of Oct. 31.

The reversal of Amazon’s fortunes has been stark. It changed from a business deemed essential during the pandemic for delivering goods to locked-down homes, to a company that overbuilt for demand.

Its layoffs now surpass the 11,000 cuts announced last year by Facebook parent Meta Platforms Inc.

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

Amazon still must file certain legal notices about mass layoffs, and it 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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Uber brings back ride share for some Canadian cities — but under a new name – Global News

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Uber brings back ride share for some Canadian cities — but under a new name  Global NewsView Full Coverage on Google News

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'Not telling us the truth': NSP customers complain utility isn't transparent about outages – CBC.ca

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‘Not telling us the truth’: NSP customers complain utility isn’t transparent about outages  CBC.caView Full Coverage on Google News

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Tiny wines find home in B.C.’s market, as Canadians consider reducing consumption

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VANCOUVER — Wine lovers have growing options on the shelf to enjoy their favourite beverage as producers in B.C. offer smaller container sizes.

Multiple British Columbia wineries over the last several years have begun offering their product in smaller, single-serve cans and bottles.

Along with making wine more attractive to those looking to toss some in a backpack or sip on the golf course, the petite containers leave wineries with options for a potential shift in mindset as Canadians discuss the health benefits of reducing alcohol consumption.

Vancouver-based wine consultant Kurtis Kolt said he’s watched the segment of the wine industry offering smaller bottles and cans “explode” over the last several years, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic when people were meeting outdoors in parks and beaches and looking for something more portable to take with them.

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“You’re not taking a hit on quality, you know? In fact, if someone is only going to be having a glass or two, you’re cracking a can and it’s completely fresh, guaranteed,” he said.

It’s also an advantage for people who want to drink less, he said.

“It’s much less of a commitment to crack open a can or a small bottle or a smaller vessel than it is to open a bottle,” he said.

“Then you have to decide how quickly you’re going to go through it or end up dumping some out if you don’t finish it.”

Last month, the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction released a report funded by Health Canada saying no amount of alcohol is safe and those who consume up to two standard drinks per week face a low health risk.

That’s a significant change from the centre’s 2011 advice that said having 15 drinks per week for men and 10 drinks per week for women was low risk.

Health Canada has said it is reviewing the report.

Charlie Baessler, the managing partner at Corcelettes Estate Winery in the southern Interior, said his winery’s Santé en Cannette sparkling wine in a can was released in 2020 as a reduced alcohol, reduced sugar, low-calorie option.

“We’ve kind of gone above and beyond to attract a bit of a younger, millennial-type market segment with a fun design concept of the can and sparkling, low alcohol — all these things that have been recently a big item on the news,” he said.

Santé en Cannette is a nine per cent wine and reducing the alcohol was a way to reduce its calories, he said. The can also makes it attractive for events like a picnic or golf, is recyclable, and makes it easier for restaurants that might want to offer sparkling wine by the glass without opening an entire bottle.

At the same time, the lower alcohol content makes it an option for people who might want a glass of wine without feeling the same effect that comes from a higher alcohol content, he said.

“So the health is clearly one incentive, but I think more importantly, so was being able to enjoy a locally made product of B.C. from a boutique winery, dare I say, with a mimosa at 11 o’clock and not ruin your day,” he said.

Baessler said the winery has doubled production since the product was first released to about 30,000 cans a year, which they expect to match this year.

He said there’s naturally a market for the product but he doesn’t expect it to compete with the higher-alcohol wine.

“So this isn’t our Holy Grail. This is something that we do for fun and we’ll never compete, or never distract, from what is our core line of riper, higher-alcohol wine,” he said.

Jeff Guignard, executive director of B.C.’s Alliance of Beverage Licensees, which represents bars, pubs and private liquor stores, said the industry has seen a shift in consumers wanting options that are more convenient.

“It’s not a massive change in consumer behaviour but it is a definitely a noticeable one, which is why you see big companies responding to it,” he said.

Guignard said the latest CCSA report is creating an increased awareness and desire to become educated about responsible consumption choices, which is a good thing, but he adds it’s important for people to look at the relative risk of what they’re doing.

“If you’re eating fast food three meals a day, I don’t think having a beer or not is going to be the single most important determinant of your health,” he said.

“But from a consumer perspective, as consumer preferences change, of course beverage manufacturers respond with different packaging or different products, the same way you’ve seen in the last five years, a large number of low-alcohol or no-alcohol beverages being introduced to the market.”

While he won’t predict how much the market share could grow, Guignard said non-alcoholic beverages and low-alcoholic beverages will continue to be a significant piece of the market.

“I don’t know if it’s reached its peak or if it will grow. I just expect it to be part of the market for now on.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 5, 2023.

 

Ashley Joannou, The Canadian Press

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