ROYAL Mail bosses are creating 300 jobs in Bathgate – thanks to the explosion in popularity of online gift buying.
The temporary parcel sorting centre will see seasonal workers help shift the massive weight of mail created by the shift away from the High Street to no fuss internet Christmas shopping.
Royal Mail spokeswoman Felicity McFarlane said: “Bathgate was chosen because of its excellent communication links in the east of Scotland.”
Last year UK retailers spent an incredible £8 billion online – and that figure is expected to increase this year.
One delighted West Lothian postal worker – who did not wish to be named – said: “This is a real boost for us but a totally necessary one.
“Online firms these days try and extend their ‘last order’ cut off points as much as possible – which means the level of work for us in December can be absolutely mental.”
“This will keep the service running, allow people to get their presents on time and may provide some permanent jobs in the long run, with a bit of luck.”
The Bathgate parcel handling centre that got the nod yesterday was one of a handful across the UK. The others are located at Eurocentral, off the M8 in Lanarkshire, and at Swansea, Bolton, Tamworth, Peterborough, Swindon and Greenford.
Royal Mail Delivery director, North and East of Scotland, Paul Kelly said: “Christmas is the busiest time of year for Royal Mail and our customers. Royal Mail has invested in eight dedicated parcel sort centres to increase our scale and improve our flexibility during this important time of year for our customers.
“As we do every year, we encourage people to post early and order presents early to help us spread the workload of handling the festive mailbag in the run up to Christmas. We also encourage people to make sure they correctly address their cards, letters and parcels, including using a postcode.”
The Bathgate centre will be swamped with online orders taken from businesses across Edinburgh and the Lothians.
Last night the pre Christmas jobs expansion was welcomed by local business support organisations.
A West Lothian Chamber of Commerce source said: “It’s vital that local businesses can ensure products they manufacture that are bought online can get to their destination.
“This step will help massively in that respect.
“There is a clear move towards online shopping these days and we need to be aware of that. More and more people are choosing to click and buy and its important the infrastructure is in place to cope with that.”