Amazon To Keep French Warehouses Closed For 4th Week In A Row
After a court in France ruled against Amazon on April 15, the company closed all six of its fulfilment centres across the country. Four weeks later, there is still no end in sight for Amazon opening up shop in France–it has announced that it will remain closed until May 18.
A French union worker had filed a legal complaint against the company to say that it was endangering the lives of its workers during the COVID-19 pandemic–partly due to the huge increase in demand from French households in lockdown. The court agreed, and ordered Amazon to only sell food and hygiene products or face a 1 million euro fine ($1.1 million) for every day that it continued to sell non-essential items. Amazon declared the ruling to be too ambiguous in terms of what constituted a non-essential item and decided to close. It couldn’t risk the large fines.
The 10,000 workers at all six sites were told to go home but have been on full pay after the government refused Amazon the right to put them on chomage partiel (partial unemployment), the government scheme whereby over 80% of their wages are covered by the welfare state if they cannot work because of COVID-19.
Reuters reported that despite Amazon declaring “our fulfilment centres are safe”, they still cannot risk the fines and will remain closed until May 18. Amazon have put in an appeal and are in talks with staff representatives and the courts to resolve the situation.
Amazon partners have still been able to sell and deliver their items through the site.