Amazon has doubled its joining bonus in some parts of the UK as the fight for Christmas staff intensifies among major retailers.

The move comes after the online retailer warned people to order Christmas deliveries earlier than usual amid supply chain issues.

Those hoping to join its Peterborough, Exeter or Southampton depots as a seasonal ‘sortation operative’ have been offered a joining bonus of £3,000 if they sign up before 30 October.

This figure is double the amount Amazon had initially advertised, according to The Sun, and is also double the amount on offer at depots in other parts of the UK.

For example, taking on a similar role in Bristol would earn a worker £1,500.

It comes as Amazon aims to recruit 20,000 seasonal staff ahead of what it already expects to be a challenging Christmas due to supply chain issues.

Troubled ‘golden quarter’

The news comes as the UK retail sector heads into what is often referred to as the ‘golden quarter’ - the period from October to December when stores aim to notch up the most profit.

However, whereas in previous years the industry has had a wide pool of labour to choose from, Brexit and Covid-19 have reduced the level of staff availability.

It has meant retailers have been forced to compete with one another for workers.

At the start of October, both Tesco and Sainsbury’s revealed they would offer £500 bonuses as part of their own Christmas recruitment drives.

Like Amazon, Tesco has offered them to warehouse workers who can start roles before 30 October. Overall, the supermarket wants to take on 15,000 temporary workers.

Meanwhile, Sainsbury’s is offering its golden handshake to seasonal delivery drivers.

‘Battle for labour’

Reports in The Observer described it as a “knock-out blow” for independent firms and SMEs by the Food & Drink Federation’s chief executive Ian Wright.

He said: “There isn’t a vast reservoir of British workers just waiting to be fought over. It’s incredibly difficult to get Christmas staff labour in many areas.

“It will mean higher prices and fewer choices on shelves. Suppliers will almost certainly produce shorter runs of product and if they can, they will look at higher prices.”

Wright’s comments came after the British Retail Consortium (BRC) made a similar statement last week when it revealed September had seen the slowest retail sales growth since January.

The trade body said it believed the ongoing shortage of drivers was going to be the biggest reason for higher prices.

“Retailers, farmers and manufacturers are already making preparations to ensure enough food and festive gifts move through the supply chain in time for Christmas,” said BRC CEO Helen Dickinson.

“Unfortunately, the lack of drivers is hindering these preparations and increasing costs, which will eventually be reflected in higher prices.”