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Amazon readies Island warehouse, hunt for couriers in tight job market

Amazon readies Island warehouse, hunt for couriers in tight job market

Amazon readies Island warehouse, hunt for couriers in tight job market

Amazon prepares to open its last-mile distribution centre at Victoria Worldwide Airport, seemingly in early October. Supply contractor goals to recruit Ukrainian refugees as couriers.

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Amazon-branded supply vans will quickly be seen in all places across the capital area as the web retail behemoth prepares to open its last-mile distribution centre at Victoria Worldwide Airport.

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Ken Mayes’ firm, Zenzen Logistics Canada, is one among two courier companies being contracted by Amazon to function about 120 automobiles that may shuttle parcels and packages from the warehouse to properties and companies in Better Victoria and the Island.

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A non-branded courier firm based mostly out of Nanaimo will deal with bigger ­parcels over 40 kilograms.

Mayes mentioned he’s conscious that hiring a whole bunch of drivers goes to be a tall order amid the area’s tight labour market, the place unemployment stays one of many lowest within the nation at 4.9% final month and companies are struggling to fill all kinds of jobs.

“Will probably be very difficult due to the labour market,” mentioned Mayes.

However he mentioned the ­firm might be closely selling driving and dispatching alternatives within the coming weeks and months by means of job gala’s and promoting.

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The positions are open to anybody over 21 with a Class 5 driver’s licence.

Zenzen Logistics drivers will make a minimal $21 an hour and have entry to a well being plan. The wage fee is underneath evaluation by Amazon. Amazon is ­providing U.S. staff health-care packages and tuition reimbursement applications.

Amazon’s $65-million ­distribution centre is called a “last-mile” sorting and ­delivery facility, the place every thing ordered from the Island lands there and is delivered by ­numerous courier firms.

The 115,000 sq. foot ­constructing is on 7.8 acres of land owned by the Victoria Airport Authority and was constructed by Edmonton-based York Realty.

Amazon didn’t reveal particulars of an official opening, however sources say it’s more likely to be Oct. 5. The corporate has been promoting for dozens of positions for a number of weeks. Messages to regional Amazon executives weren’t instantly returned.

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Mayes mentioned due to the low unemployment fee, ZenZenLogistics is keen on focusing on Ukrainian refugees for driving positions. He mentioned GPS techniques will make it simpler for newcomers to navigate the town, although they have to maintain a Class 5 B.C. driver’s licence.

Up to now, not many Ukrainian refugees to the Island have attained licences, in response to Devon Goldie, president of the Ukrainian Cultural Centre.

The centre has welcomed greater than 500 refugees from the war-torn nation, mentioned Goldie, and one other 200 have arrived on the Island by means of household, pals or different means.

Goldie mentioned refugees with a grasp of English received’t have an issue attaining a learner’s allow or driver’s licence, however it can take time. “It’s a tough course of” for many, she mentioned.

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The learner’s portion of the check isn’t accessible in Ukrainian; it’s in Russian. The Google translations, nonetheless, aren’t at all times correct and trigger confusion, she mentioned.

“When it comes time to do the highway check, it must be in English, and there’s no choice to have a translator within the automobile,” mentioned Goldie. “That’s the most important problem.”

Goldie mentioned among the refugees with little or no English have been capable of safe jobs in housekeeping, entry degree building jobs and backroom stocking positions at grocery shops.

Others, nonetheless, who do have English have been employed in authorities, know-how and regulation workplaces and at post-secondary establishments.

Al Hasham, president and chief government of Most Categorical Courier, Freight and Logistics in Victoria, mentioned Amazon’s fleet will face challenges hiring drivers.

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Hasham mentioned his firm has delivered Amazon packages as a third-party for overflows from courier firms equivalent to Purolater and FedEx, however sticks to its personal native prospects. That manner, he mentioned, the corporate can function solely on weekdays from 6 a.m. to five p.m., and provide its drivers respectable working hours — and higher pay at about $23 an hour.

These working situations have allowed Hasham to retain drivers on common 12 to 13 years. “It’s very troublesome to get good drivers — anybody today,” he mentioned.

Hasham mentioned he’s down 4 drivers as a consequence of latest instances of COVID-19, and has needed to pull drivers out of the household’s Vancouver operations to cowl the Victoria space. “I’ve been in enterprise since 1987 and have sen quite a lot of the ups and downs of hiring … that is positively a down time,” he mentioned.

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Hasham mentioned staff “need a life,” and which means truthful working hours and above-average wages.

Mayes arrange a courier system for Amazon within the Winnipeg space and has returned to Victoria with Zzenzen Logistics. He owned yoga studios in Victoria for greater than twenty years, and mentioned he needs to create an “inclusive” and respectful office with the supply firm.

“Most individuals, I believe, whereas wages are essential, wish to work in a spot that has a tradition of respect and adaptability,” mentioned Mayes, noting that may embrace issues like tuition help and well being profit packages that embrace offset prices of prescription drugs, chiropractic care and counselling.

“We’re going to make use of 130 individuals right here in Victoria and we would like a spread of ages, genders, religions in our workforce.

“For a lot of drivers, particularly newcomers, they will work in neighbourhoods with route affinity and actually get to know the individuals who dwell there and do enterprise there.”

Mayes estimates his fleet of 12-foot-long Ford Transit 250 vans will ship between 4,000 and seven,000 packages a day, with peak instances being the Christmas season.

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Maria Parrish


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