Church fights for Inverclyde jobs

Bishop John Keenan of Paisley has called on Amazon to cancel its plans to close its Gourock warehouse in order to save 300 jobs, stating it will impact local families ‘in already challenging times.’

Bishop Keenan said he was ‘both disappointed and saddened to hear of the proposed closure’ and encouraged Amazon to reconsider the proposal.

“Inverclyde has suffered greatly in recent times and this is another severe blow to families and the local economy,” he said.

“I hope that the Scottish Government will work to bring new jobs to the area and I am confident that Inverclyde Council will do what it can to help improve the work situation in Inverclyde.

“My heart is with the people of Inverclyde and, as a Church, we offer the support of our prayers to anxious families as well as our practical help, if needed, through the various agencies in our local parishes.”

A spokesperson for Amazon said they were ‘always evaluating our network to make sure it fits our business needs and to improve the experience for our employees and customers.’

GMB union organiser Steve Garelick called the move a ‘real kick in the teeth for Amazon staff who worked themselves into the ground during the festive rush.’

“Hard-up Amazon workers can’t suddenly be expected to up sticks and move to a different fulfilment centre which may be many miles away,” he said.

“Local workers may not be in a position to take roles so far away from where they live.”

Ross Ahlfeld is the CEO at Inverclyde Community Development Trust, which has committed to supporting workers though providing retraining, material and emotional support, and help finding alternate employment.

He said the Trust shares ‘Bishop Keenan’s hope that there may be a change of heart on the decision to close Amazon Gourock and we welcome Bishop John’s offer of practical help.’

Mr Ahlfeld said the announcement of the closure was met with a cross-denominational response in Inverclyde, with Rev Teri Peterson from St John’s Church of Scotland in Gourock denouncing the closure.

“Both Bishop John and Rev Teri rightly point out that this proposed closure will affect families already hit hard by the ongoing the cost of living crisis,” he said.

“Churches, alongside charities like The Trust, local associations, and other nonprofit organisations, form a crucial part of civil society and our local faith communities play an important role at times of economic hardship.”

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