Willie Rennie clashes with Amazon over ‘blocked’ Fife site visit

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has claimed he was blocked from visiting Amazon’s Dunfermline base as his party prepares to pledge to axe controversial taxpayer subsidies for firms that fail to pay the Living Wage.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has claimed he was blocked from visiting Amazon’s Dunfermline base as his party prepares to pledge to axe controversial taxpayer subsidies for firms that fail to pay the Living Wage.

Mr Rennie clashed with Amazon about its employment policies and claimed the internet sales giant only paid its workers £7.20 an hour, rather than the Scottish Living Wage of £8.25 an hour.

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The multinational firm has received more than £5 million in tax handouts from the Scottish Government since 2005, including almost £4m of Regional Selective Assistance (RSA) grants, through Scottish Enterprise.

Mr Rennie said he had been due to visit Amazon’s Dunfermline “fulfilment centre” today to meet employees to discuss their working conditions, as he prepared to launch a manifesto commitment “to make Scotland a fairer place to work in”.

However, Mr Rennie, a Fife region MSP, said it was cancelled at the last minute by Amazon bosses in London, who cited concerns about an election campaign event.

Mr Rennie will accuse the SNP of failing to use its influence to get Amazon to pay employees at its Scottish operation the £8.25 voluntary rate, which is above and beyond the statutory minimum wage of £6.70 for over 21s.

He says: “The last minute decision to exclude me from the site confirms my worst concerns about the company.”

A spokeswoman for Scotland’s cabinet secretary for fair work, Roseanna Cunningham, said: “We have met Amazon to discuss the living wage.”

An Amazon spokesman said: “We have confirmed with Mr Rennie’s office that he has an open invitation to our fulfilment centre following the election.”