Walmart & Amazon Go on Hiring Binge as Virus Spreads

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) — Walmart plans to hire 150,000 people to meet increased demand during the coronavirus crisis and will pay out $365 million in bonuses, the U.S. retail giant said.

“These roles will be temporary at first, but many will convert to permanent roles over time,” it said.

The firm said it would pay $300 bonuses to full-time employees and $150 to part-timers.

Associates move bins filled with products at the loading dock of Amazon’s then-new fulfillment center in Livonia, Mich., on March 23, 2018. (Todd McInturf/Detroit News via AP, File)

Walmart said Thursday it wanted to reward them “for their hard work and dedication to serving customers in a time of an unprecedented national health crisis.”

It also plans to speed up payment of the next quarterly bonus payments, which will take its payout to nearly $550 million.

The hiring drive comes as travel restrictions and lockdown measures in U.S. states and cities to curb the spread of the virus have led people to stock up on basic foodstuffs and order more online.

Amazon also announced plans to recruit an additional 100,000 workers in the United States to cope with the surge in internet shopping.

Meanwhile, many small businesses have to close, at least temporarily, and 70,000 people have been laid off in a single week across the country, according to the latest weekly unemployment benefit claims.

“We know millions of Americans who are usually employed at this time are temporarily out of work, and at the same time we’re currently seeing strong demand in our stores,” said Walmart CEO Doug McMillon.

The retail chain said it would speed up recruitment, cutting the application process time from two weeks to 24 hours.

© Agence France-Presse

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