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After Amazon lobby ban, S&Ds visit workers and trade unions in four countries


12 Apr 2024


Trade & Society

Today, the Socialists and Democrats are meeting Amazon workers and trade union representatives in Germany, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands to hear first-hand stories of employees and to discuss how to empower them so they can stand up to Amazon’s exploitation and abuses.

Coordinated by UNI Europa, the European Services Workers Union, this Europe-wide Amazon action day is a pledge to take further steps to make the multinational pay decent wages and respect workers’ rights. Amazon must fully respect European rules and values if they want to make profit in Europe.

In February, members of the European Parliament banned Amazon lobbyists from freely entering the Parliament after the company refused to participate in a parliamentary hearing and cancelled the official visit of parliamentarians to observe working conditions in its warehouses.

Today, S&D MEPs are taking action and travelling across Europe. The Group’s employment and social affairs spokesperson Agnes Jongerius is going to Almelo, vice-presidents Gaby Bischoff and Marc Angel as well as Birgit Sippel and Udo Bullmann to Frankfurt, Iban García del Blanco to Madrid, and Brando Benifei to Milan.

Agnes Jongerius, S&D spokesperson for employment and social affairs, said:

“While Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos, who has recently reclaimed the title of the richest person on earth, is busy conquering space, its workers struggle to meet inhumane performance targets in abhorrent conditions for meagre pay. We have heard horrible cases of exploitation from workers’ testimonies when they talked to us in the Parliament in January. The least Amazon must do is fully respect workers’ rights  abiding by European rules and values.

“In February, we banned Amazon lobbyists from freely entering the Parliament because the company kept on refusing to talk about workers’ rights. We will not stop here. Today, we announce further concrete action to make this company understand that European democracy and institutions must be respected.

“We demand that Amazon stop exploiting workers and bogus self-employed, and in particular stop using massive surveillance and AI to abuse employees and invade their privacy. Furthermore, Amazon must respect the European social model and trade unions, which means engaging in collective bargaining, especially if the company wants to keep receiving public contracts. We will keep fighting to make union busting a crime and to clamp down on Amazon’s attempts at disrupting and weakening trade unions.”

Oliver Roethig, UNI Europa Regional Secretary, added:

“After Amazon refused to face democratic scrutiny by members of the European Parliament, they barred their lobbyists from the Parliament’s premises. Now, we are glad to see the parliamentarians go a step further: if Amazon is not willing to come to the European Parliament, MEPs will go directly to meet with workers and their trade union representatives.

“In an action day across four European countries, coordinated by UNI Europa, the parliamentarians have today heard about how the European Union can support their fight against Amazon’s anti-unionism and for good working conditions and pay.”