By Damon Mitchell • 19 May 2020 • 15:56
AMAZON France is reopening its distribution centres after they were shut down more than a month ago due to a dispute with unions over the health and safety of workers.
An Amazon spokesperson announced on Tuesday that all six warehouses in France would “gradually reopen from today.”
A labour union brought a court case complaining the online sales giant was not doing enough to protect its workers from contracting coronavirus in its warehouses. The court ordered the company to limit itself to selling only “essential” goods.
Instead of complying with the order, Amazon shut down its warehouses in France blaming confusion over what constituted an “essential” item and the possibility of high fines.
After losing an appeal and saying it would take the case to the French Supreme Court, Amazon instead announced on Friday that it had reached an agreement with the labour unions.
“This follows five weeks of discussions in which we have repeatedly provided clarification and information about the extensive safety measures already implemented at our fulfilment centres to keep our employees safe,” an Amazon spokesperson said in Friday’s statement. The company continued to pay its workers during the shutdown and maintained that it had increased protections for its staff.
According to the Confédération Française Démocratique du Travail, one of the four major labour unions to negotiate with Amazon, employees will gradually return to the warehouses on a voluntary basis at first.
In a statement, the union said it had “obtained health and security guarantees” for employees, along with a pay rise of €2 an hour for those returning voluntarily and schedule adjustments to help increase physical distancing.
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