Amazon awaits appeal to court as French warehouses remain closed

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Amazon goes to the Court of Versailles.

Seattle-based company seeks clarity over court definition of “essentials” after it was ordered on April 14 to limit supplies to essentials, including food, personal care and products medical. In a courtroom today, a French judge remitted the cyber merchant’s appeal to a higher court, where he will now be heard on April 24. Failure to comply with the order would require Amazon to pay a hefty fine of 1 million euros ($ 1.09 million). ) per day late. To avoid this fine, the company temporarily closed its six French warehouses, which employ around 10,000 people.

“The operations of our distribution center are complex and varied, and with the punitive fines of € 1 million per incident imposed by the judgment of the original court, the risk of accidentally shipping non-essential items was too high, it that’s why we temporarily suspended our distribution center operations. “An Amazon representative told FN. “Since the beginning of this unprecedented global crisis, we have made it clear that nothing is more important than the safety of our employees.”

In light of the revised court calendar, Amazon has told FN that it will “reassess the situation” at its distribution centers, which were originally scheduled to remain closed until Wednesday. The company said it would consult with employee representatives before extending the closings.

Unions have called for a complete halt to Amazon’s operations in France, expressing concern over the alleged challenges of maintaining appropriate social distancing amid increased demand for products. By restricting deliveries from Amazon, the court noted that officials would be able to better examine whether the online power plant is taking adequate security precautions to protect its associates.

Similar concerns over an alleged lack of employee protection have also been raised in Amazon’s US territory: in late March, 15 workers at the warehouse in Staten Island, NY, participated in a protest to denounce the conditions work from Amazon. after an employee of the establishment tested positive for the new coronavirus. Christian Smalls, who led the employee strike, was fired shortly after, but Amazon attributed his dismissal to his receipt of “several warnings for violating social distancing guidelines”. (Smalls, said Amazon, had contacted a worker who tested positive for COVID-19 and was told to stay home with pay for 14 days.)

In addition, five US senators – including former Democratic presidential candidates Cory Booker and Kirsten Gillibrand – wrote a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos earlier this month to inquire about the dismissal of Smalls. They also expressed concern over the shortage of personal protective equipment following reports that the retailer only had masks and gloves for employees in “limited quantities”.

An Amazon spokesperson told FN last week, “We have enough masks for everyone in our operating system and our grocery stores to last a few weeks and keep buying more. There is a shortage of masks in the world right now, so naturally we are deliberate in our daily distributions. “

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