France has rejected a request from e-commerce giant Amazon to tap a state-funded scheme to subsidize furloughed employees at its six closed warehouses in the country.
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Amazon’s French warehouses, which employ about 10,000 people on permanent and interim contracts in unsafe conditions, have been shut since April 16 after court rulings ordered the company to limit deliveries to a list of essential goods during the coronavirus pandemic or face fines.
The Seattle-based group filed a formal request last week to benefit from the state scheme under which the government pledges to pay 70 percent of the gross salary of workers placed on leave during the pandemic.
“The request... has been rejected because the closure of the sites is the consequence of a court ruling and not of a drop in activity,” the French labor ministry said on Monday.
The company has said the latest French court ruling, which restricts deliveries to IT products, health items, food, and pet food, could lead to multimillion-dollar fines if it unintentionally ships items that are not included on the list.
French unions have brushed off Amazon’s arguments, saying the company was playing hardball with them by taking an all-or-nothing approach that impedes the start of proper negotiations.
The company said it would inform unions at a works council on Wednesday of its intent to keep warehouses shut up to and including May 8 as it seeks the best way to operate under the terms of the ruling.