Coronavirus France: Court limits Amazon to essential deliveries

Amazon deliveries are restricted to essential goods like food and medical supplies in France after court rules the company ‘failed’ to keep workers safe during coronavirus pandemic

  • French court limits Amazon to delivering essential goods in the country
  • The company will have 24 hours to adjust to new regulations of face daily fines
  • The court cited the company’s failure to protect workers in its French facilities
  • Learn more about how to help people impacted by COVID

By Michael Thomsen For

Published: | Updated:

A French court has ordered Amazon to restrict all its deliveries in the country to essential goods during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ruling gives Amazon 24 hours to comply with the new restrictions, which would limit the online retailer to delivering food items, hygiene products, and medical supplies.

According to the Paris court, Amazon has ‘failed to recognize its obligations regarding the security and health of its workers.’

The court ruled that Amazon had failed to recognize its obligations regarding the security and health of its workers,’ and said the company would be fined $1.1million (one million Euros) each day for failure to comply

If the company doesn’t comply with the ruling, it could be fined up to $1.1million (one million Euros) a day, according to a report from BBC.

An Amazon spokesperson said the company is ‘perplexed’ by the ruling.

‘Our interpretation suggests that we may be forced to suspend the activity of our distribution centers in France,’ the company said in a statement to Bloomberg.

‘The court gave categories that are very general and create ambiguity that would be too hard to implement, this is a complex business to run.’

In an internal memo, Amazon suggested it would close its fulfillment centers in France for an initial five day period while investigating ways to proceed.

According to union representatives, workers at six Amazon facilities have been told about a temporary stoppage, during which they will continue to receive full pay.

‘We believe it’s good news,’ said Julien Vincent of the labor union, CFDT, which represents Amazon’s logistics workers.

The lawsuit against Amazon’s French operations was originally filed by the labor union Solidaires Unitaires Démocratiques, which said the company was forcing workers to operate in unsafe conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic

‘It will give us time to negotiate more seriously and upgrade health safety measures. Employees are going on partial unemployment but paid 100 percent, the company told us. We must focus on our work conditions.’

The suit against Amazon was originally filed by the French trade union Solidaires Unitaires Démocratiques on behalf 100 Amazon workers it said were being forced to work in conditions that violated basic social distancing protocols.

According to an estimate from CFDT, between 30 and 40 percent of the company’s total workforce in France have stopped reporting to work, either for fear they would contract COVID-19 in the company’s warehouses or because they lacked the necessary childcare resources during the country’s school closures.

Several hundred Amazon workers in the country organized strikes in March, which helped bring public attention to the issue. 

Amazon denied the claims, saying it has implemented more aggressive cleaning policies for its warehouses and worked to ensure ’employees can keep the necessary distance from one another.’

The company has promised it will begin distributing face masks to all warehouse staff across its European and American facilities, as well as begin taking daily temperature checks of all its workers.


Gerard Tuzara was formerly an officer in the US Air Force before he began working at Amazon

Gerard Tuzara is the first known employee from Amazon to die from the disease.

Air Force veteran, Tuzara, worked as an operations manager at Amazon’s Hawthorne facility near LAX airport. 

The 35-year-old is believed to have passed away on March 31. 

A week later a vacation in Mexico he began experiencing flu-like symptoms and was admitted to hospital, Amazon confirmed to on Tuesday.

It’s not known exactly where Tuzara first contracted the disease.

His death was announced as an increasing number of claims have been leveled at the company over the level to which the company is providing safety protections for the workers in its warehouses and delivery workers. 

It was revealed on Tuesday that Amazon has fired three more employees who spoke out over the company’s pandemic working conditions.

One of Tuzara’s friends wrote a tribute which has been posted in the warehouse where he worked.  

‘Gerry was an Air Force officer, a loving husband, son and uncle,’ the letter read. ‘He will be greatly missed.’

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