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Article

4 May 2020

Author:
France 24 with AFP and Reuters

France refuses Amazon's Covid-19 emergency fund request

France's labour ministry on Monday refused a request by Amazon for emergency funds to pay its employees during the coronavirus crisis...The ministry said Amazon France had asked to benefit from coronavirus crisis funds that cover about 84 percent of net pay for workers facing temporary layoffs because of a drop in business...labour unions...say not enough was done to mitigate contagion risk for staff working in close proximity...Last month, an appeals court upheld a ruling that sharply curtailed Amazon's operations and ordered management to review safety measures...But Amazon said it was impossible to comply with the order, and completely shut down the six sites from mid-April until May 5, though it maintained full pay for employees...

The world's largest online retailer is facing mounting scrutiny...and France has become a major battleground. France is the only country where Amazon has shut all of its so-called fulfillment centres after unions complained that they were still too crowded and filed a legal challenge...Unions called Amazon's request for employment aid "absolutely scandalous" and accused the firm of getting around the court order by fulfilling French orders from its other warehouses in Europe...Amazon reported last week that despite a surge in orders worldwide because of virus lockdowns, its profit dropped 29 percent in the first quarter of this year, to $2.5 billion, because of Covid-19 expenses, including measures for "keeping employees safe"...

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