AROUND 30 people who were dismissed while working on a North-East Amazon warehouse have been offered their jobs back after three days of protests.

The Northern Echo understands that a sub-contractor working on Amazon's new Fulfilment Centre in Gateshead has "reinstated" the roles after talks concluded.

The move has been described as a "victory," as campaigners have said they stand ready to challenge any firm that "undermines" the trade in future.

It comes as campaigners, including those from Rank and File, originally alleged that two sub-contractors were using labourers, instead of qualified electricians to finish the site.

Read more: Sub-contractor accused of using 'unskilled' work to finish Amazon Gateshead

At the time, and as they protested outside the site last Wednesday, they claimed health and safety was being put at risk, and the quality of the build jeopardised.

The Northern Echo: The campaigners outside Amazon Gateshead on Wednesday Picture: JIM SCOTTThe campaigners outside Amazon Gateshead on Wednesday Picture: JIM SCOTT

One of the sub-contractors, SSE Enterprise Contracting refuted the claims saying all of its workers are 'suitably' skilled, while SIS Systems has not yet provided a comment.

It then emerged that around 30 workers from SIS Systems had been reportedly dismissed last Friday as a result, prompting a three-day protest starting on Monday.

Read more: Amazon sub-contractor dismisses up to 30 workers after protest in Gateshead 

A text message sent to the workers said that they must leave the site by the end of the day, while warning that their pay would be withheld if they took part in further action.

But following talks, which took place on Wednesday between the sub-contractors, main contractor TGW, site management and union representatives, all roles were reinstated.

The Northern Echo: The scene on Wednesday as campaigners protested for the third day Picture: JIM SCOTTThe scene on Wednesday as campaigners protested for the third day Picture: JIM SCOTT

One worker told The Northern Echo: "It's absolutely a victory. All the lads got offered their jobs back at 5pm on Wednesday, they were sent emails telling them their jobs are there if they wanted to start back on the site on Thursday morning.

Read more: 'We want their jobs back' - Protests outside Amazon warehouse on THIRD day in a row

"We will have no more campaigns planned as long as they put an end to the labourers connecting up electrical equipment, which we are waiting for a statement to be put out on that."

Responding to the reinstatement of the jobs, Jim Harte, Chair of the Rank and File organisation, commended the efforts, saying they had stood "shoulder to shoulder."

He said "We were extremely concerned at the behaviour of SIS in sacking 30 electricians for taking part in demonstrations to protect their jobs and Trade.

"They also threatened to, illegally, withhold their wages should they take further action.

The Northern Echo: There was a police presence during the the campaigning Picture: JIM SCOTTThere was a police presence during the the campaigning Picture: JIM SCOTT

"Those sparks stood shoulder to shoulder in supporting their fellow workers by taking further action on site and it is testament to those Rank and File activists in making these feelings known to their employers.

"We are delighted the those employers have listened and that the 30 sparks have been re-instated and hopefully they will engage with their employees in the future to avoid such situations."

The main contractor TGW previously said it would commit to helping and investigating the concerns raised at the site in Gateshead in order to "clear up" the incident.

A spokesperson previously said: “The allegations were raised against a subcontractor of one of our suppliers, who is contracted to perform electrical assembly.

"TGW commits to help investigate and clear up the incident quickly and to ensure that the sub-suppliers comply with British labour law.

"To achieve this goal, TGW is in contact with the organisations involved.”

Amazon previously said that the matters relate to the contractors directly, which it said it expected all to ensure their workers are suitably trained.

An Amazon spokesperson said: “This matter concerns a small number of contractors working at the Gateshead site and had no operational impact on the construction works currently taking place.

"We expect the contractors to ensure their workers are suitably trained and undertake all work according to industry standards.”

TGW and SIS Systems have been approached for comment.


Keep up to date with all the latest news on our website, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

You can also follow our dedicated County Durham Facebook page for all the latest in the area by clicking here.

For all the top news updates from right across the region straight to your inbox, sign up to our newsletter here.

Have you got a story for us? Contact our newsdesk on or contact 01325 505054