France: Amazon Banned from Selling Non-Essential Items amid COVID

France: Amazon Banned from Selling Non-Essential Items amid COVID-19

A French appeal court upholds a local judge’s earlier ruling that prohibits Amazon from performing any delivery of nonessential items amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Under that instruction, the company ships only essential products such as food, medicine, hygiene products and electronics to its French customers. The decision is made upon the demand of unions for more protections from the pandemic, arising issues regarding the near future of Amazon’s business in the country.

A Lawsuit against Amazon

The Court of Appeals of Versailles upheld a lower-court order effective since the previous week. The ruling results from a lawsuit filed by the French labour unions, who have a conflict with Amazon. The e-commerce giant failed to work with them on health protocols in order to protect workers against the menace of COVID-19 spreading in the workplace.

The appellate court’s decision arrives when the French government has issued a lockdown order for four weeks. Unions are pressing businesses that are still running to take action to protect workers against the novel coronavirus. Backed up by a sturdy system of worker protections, they have filed a range of lawsuits, including one charging Carrefour with a criminal offence. Workers in France have the legal permission to retract work whenever they are uncertain about their safety, resulting in some labour deficiencies since the commencement of the lockdown.

Amazon Banned from Delivery of Unnecessary Items

France: Amazon Banned from Selling Non-Essential Items As It Loses Court Appeal amid COVID-19

Accordingly, Amazon can perform shipments of only essential products. These include health and hygiene items, food, pet food and electronics. Such shipments of any other items are against the court’s decision, and the company will have to pay a fine for each. In particular, a fine of around €110,000 will be imposed if the e-commerce company carries out any delivery infringing the requirements. The court also stated that it would examine Amazon’s performance in a month.

In addition, under the order, Amazon has to close six colossal factories located in France for a week as demanded by the labour unions, forcing 10,000 workers going on a paid sabbatical. Instead, its factories in some other European countries will accomplish orders of nonessential items.

The ruling will be taking effect unless the company systematically undertakes an appraisal of worker protection at its factories amid COVID-19. It indicates that the unions who request more health protections for employees have won the lawsuit. The e-commerce company has a day to abide by the condition, otherwise, they must deal with the fine.

Amazon’s Response and Concerns about Its Near Future in France

In response, Amazon stated it had heard about the outcome of its appeal, and still remained puzzled by the ruling. According to a tweet in French from the company, it was evaluating the repercussion on its business operation and workers in France. Amazon has a large customer base and there are plenty of small French businesses. They rely on its e-commerce platform to operate. Due to the tribunal order, they may also face serious problems.

Amazon expresses disagreement with French labour unions that dragged it into court. The e-commerce firm asserts it gave “concrete evidence” in which it had been working to reinforce health and safety for employees in the workplace. In the previous week, Frederic Duval, Amazon France CFO, said to the French media that the company had invested enormous sums on health protections. These include supplying hand sanitizer and face masks.

The decision on Friday drives Amazon’s stock to hit all-time highs in France, where labour unions exert their influence to urge companies to look back on employee entitlement during the COVID-19 crisis. In its home country, Amazon likewise encounters escalating inspections of its course of action to ensure workers’ health safety, along with the outcomes. At the same time, it has to fulfill a huge number of orders from customers.

It is difficult to conclude a complete list of consequences resulting from the court’s constraint. But without a doubt, it will hold back Amazon’s capability to satisfy French customers’ orders. On March 21, the company said that it would restrict shipments from its storehouses in France and Italy to necessary products. However, the labour unions report to the court that less than 10% of products delivered belong to these categories, based on their calculation.

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