Amazon does not comply with French anti-coronavirus regulations, a French Court of Appeal has now confirmed. Although the online giant is still allowed to ship essential products from French warehouses, they are all closed for the time being.
100,000 euro fine per parcel
Amazon's appeal following a conviction in France has been dismissed: the court again ruled in favour of the trade unions, which had denounced the security measures taken by the American e-commerce giant during the Covid-19 crisis. As a result of that earlier conviction, Amazon must limit supplies in France to IT products, health products, food and pet food. The Court of Appeal now adds that a fine of 100,000 euros will be imposed for each delivery of non-essential goods, as long as health protocols have not been improved, Reuters reports.
The company will not take that risk, and keeps all six French distribution centres completely closed until at least 5 May. The reopening was originally planned for 21 April, but Amazon is taking more time to improve the precautionary measures or, increasingly likely, to wait for the relaxation of French confinement measures.
The American company had argued that it could not efficiently distinguish essential goods and did not want to risk fines. Meanwhile, it supplies the French market from neighbouring countries and promises employees keep their full wages.
The unions call the verdict a "David versus Goliath" moment, just when demand at Amazon is rising exponentially due to the coronavirus crisis. However, labour unrest on both sides of the Atlantic is increasing as well: workers' organisations now say they are talking to the online retailer to find a compromise, including adequate health protocols, so that operations can be resumed.
The 10,000 external traders who sell their products through the Amazon marketplace, on the other hand, experience the verdict as "terrible". They must now either process and ship the orders themselves or send their products to Amazon's distribution centres abroad (particularly Germany). Not only does this cause delays, the shipping costs would be up to four times higher. A lot of stock is also tied up in the closed warehouses.