Morrisons announces 3,500 new delivery jobs due to coronavirus

17 March 2020, 21:19

Morrisons made the announcement on Tuesday
Morrisons made the announcement on Tuesday. Picture: PA

By Maddie Goodfellow

Supermarket giant Morrisons has announced it will create 3,500 new "at home delivery jobs" to cope with soaring demand amid the coronavirus crisis.

The chain said it would be recruiting around 2,500 pickers and drivers, while it will also be hiring about 1,000 people to work in its distribution centres.

The move will see more delivery slots become available to customers, use another 100 stores for shop picking, set up a call centre for those without access to online shopping and launch a new range of simple-to-order food parcels from March 23.

Morrisons also set out measures to help staff, including a colleague hardship fund, a pledge to pay sick pay to all employees and redeployment of colleagues who are vulnerable to the crisis.

David Potts, chief executive of Morrisons, said: "We expect the days, weeks and months ahead to be very testing and we are determined to do our bit.

"These measures will support our very hard-working colleagues, enable us to provide more food to more people in their homes and create opportunities for people whose jobs are affected by the coronavirus."

The announcement comes after the chain last week vowed to pay small suppliers immediately to help support under-pressure cash flow.

Supermarkets have faced rocketing demand for online grocery deliveries as many Britons have been forced into self-isolation and are shunning shops due to social distancing advice from the Government.

The demand has left some shoppers unable to secure home delivery slots for up to two weeks.

Morrisons also said it would look to protect employees where possible by asking customers to pay by card or smartphone to reduce cash handling, and by issuing hand sanitiser at checkouts at all stores.

It will also significantly increase cleaning of places that staff and customers touch.

It comes as the Chancellor announced there will be a three month mortgage holiday for anyone affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Rishi Sunak said the ongoing pandemic was something "we have never experienced an economic crisis in peace time like this one."

He said the policy is being put in place to help homeowner "get back on their feet".

There was, however, no measures announced for anyone who rents their home.

Mr Sunak added he would "go much further to support people's financial security" in the coming days. 

"In particular, I will work with trade unions and business groups to urgently develop new forms of employment support to help protect people's jobs and their incomes through this period."

He also announced there will be an "unprecedented package" £330 billion package of government-backed loans to be made available to businesses by the end of this week.

The latest measures were unveiled after the Government's chief scientific adviser said around 55,000 people in the UK now have Covid-19, as the NHS moved to cancel all non-emergency surgery and 71 people are now known to have died.

Sir Patrick Vallance told MPs it is hoped the death toll can be kept to under 20,000 as he told of the huge amount of strain the health service will be under from Covid-19.