Last updated: L’horreur! Amazon suspends operations in France; COVID-19 havoc continues

L’horreur! Amazon suspends operations in France; COVID-19 havoc continues


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People in France waiting for an Amazon package may be waiting for a long time.

That’s because Amazon has shut down its warehouses in the country after a dispute with labor unions over working conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic. The shutdown is temporary, but Amazon has not said when it might reopen them.

Amazon took the drastic step of suspending operations in its French fulfillment centers after a court sided with workers on Tuesday, restricting the online giant to delivery of essential items while it updates its health and safety protocols.

“This is in spite of the huge investment we made in additional safety measures to keep our hard-working, dedicated colleagues safe, while ensuring they had continued employment at this difficult time,” Timothy Carter, an Amazon spokesman, said in an email statement.

As Amazon suspends operations in France, spokesperson stresses safety measures in place

Describing the fulfillment center operations as “complex and varied” Carter said, “with the punitive 1M euro per incident fines imposed by the court, the risk of accidentally shipping non-essential items was too high.”

He added, “We remain perplexed by the court’s decision, which was made in spite of the overwhelming evidence we provided about the safety measures we have implemented, and have launched an appeal.”

According to Reuters, Amazon has six warehouses in France employing 10,000 permanent and temporary workers. The shutdown comes as Amazon is dealing with a massive surge in demand during the pandemic.

The court in France issued its ruling in response to a lawsuit filed by a group of trade unions claiming that Amazon had not taken enough measures to protect warehouse workers from COVID-19.

Workers at Amazon warehouses in the US have also said the company has fallen short on pandemic safety, and some have walked off the job to demand better protection.

Amazon has provided regular updates about its COVID-19 response, including safety measures and pay increases for workers in a daily blog.

Carter said Amazon will continue to serve French customers through its independent marketplace sellers and global fulfillment network.

“The union action that led to the decision will likely have consequences for many people in the country, including our thousands of employees, customers who rely on us now more than ever, and the small local businesses that use Amazon to grow,” he said.

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