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Stop modern slavery! S&Ds lead the offensive against Amazon’s illegal and unethical labour practices


28 May 2021


Social Europe & Jobs

The Socialists and Democrats voiced serious concerns about the way Amazon treats its workers, during a special hearing today organised by the employment and social affairs committee in the European Parliament. They also call on Jeff Bezos, the CEO of the company, to appear before the Parliament to be held accountable for his very questionable business model. The S&D Group will also push for a specific debate to be held during an upcoming plenary session.

Agnes Jongerius MEP, S&D spokesperson on social affairs, said:

“Amazon should not be allowed to roll out its model of precarious jobs all over Europe, undercutting workers' rights and small businesses in an unfair competition. Amazon tracks their workers every second and does not even allow them to go to the bathroom, it is abnormal and inhumane. At the Porto Social Summit, the government leaders of Europe committed to creating quality employment in Europe. For this, we need the Temporary Work Agency Directive to be revised and make it impossible to perform structural work on temporary agency contracts. Throughout Europe, we have to put an end to zero hour contracts. Surveillance software and equipment that Amazon is using to spy upon workers and their trade unions, do not have a place in Europe! 

“Jeff Bezos cannot simply ignore the democratic rights of the European Parliament, he should be held to account for the practices in his sweatshops. He needs to attend a hearing in the plenary of the European Parliament.

“And as Socialists, we will keep working in the Parliament for action at a European level to protect all workers and to ensure that Amazon abides by the European rules and values. The right to organise and the right to strike for workers are non-negotiable in Europe. Jeff Bezos must learn to live with that.”

Pedro Marques MEP, S&D vice-president for a strong social Europe, said:

“It is European legislators, not companies, that make the law in the European Union. Amazon should keep this in mind when trampling on workers’ rights.

“European trade union leaders representing over 12 million workers signed a letter urging the European Institutions to open an investigation into Amazon’s potentially illegal activities against Amazon workers in Europe. That means that there is a serious problem if the leadership of the company refuses to be held accountable, we want to hear from the man himself. Jeff Bezos must come before the European Parliament.”

“The surge in profits registered by Amazon due to the pandemic gives us even more reason to call for thorough scrutiny into the practices of the company. European money and European workers are on the line."