French Court Rules to Shut Amazon Down for 5 Days For Allegedly Neglecting Safety Protocols Against Coronavirus Pandemic

Amazon Warehouse
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The massive online distribution platform, Amazon, has temporarily closed its doors to France as a court deemed the global company's protocols against the coronavirus were lackluster. Amazon put a halt to their distribution of all products except for food, medical supplies, and hygiene equipment as the European country's decision was ruled.

New York Times reported the news on Wednesday, as French labor officials, earlier this month, observed concerns with the online company's lack of hand sanitizer and face masks. They were also convinced that Amazon was lacking in taking proper guidelines to regulate social distancing.

The court's rule

The decision to ban the continued operations was put in place after several unions took legal measures against Amazon, which was allegedly placing workers' lives at risk.

The court required the immediate suspension of the firm's shipments of products with a few exemptions, by Wednesday or they stand to face a $1.1 million fine for every day they continue to neglect the ruling.

Amazon stated that it took considerable measures to ensure that their workers and customers are given the best possible health precautions amid the pandemic. The company also expressed its confusion regarding the official ruling, choosing to entirely shut down operations rather than face the risk of paying the fines.

The complaining unions believe that the firm was irresponsible for choosing to continue its operations as usual even during the global outbreak.

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What will happen to Amazon?

The ruling is to have a five-day suspension, during which the laid-off Amazon employees will still be paid their usual compensations. According to CNN, the online firm is set to reassess its procedures and conduct a review of "occupational risks inherent in the COVID-19 epidemic" within its processes.

French government spokesperson, Sibeth Ndiaye, told Bloomberg their main concern right now is taking precautions with their citizens working in the medical field as they are more closely exposed to the virus. They also pay close attention to employers and whether or not each of them is placing sufficient effort in protecting their employees by giving adequate sanitary working conditions.

In early March, Amazon was pushed by lawmakers to incorporate temperature checks and usage of surgical masks at all of its warehouses located in the US and Europe. And as of Tuesday, employees from more than 70 US sites have been confirmed to have contracted the virus.

Several Amazon employees went on strike in the US while leaking paperwork that allegedly shows a plan concocted by the company to initiate a smear campaign discrediting Chris Smalls, an organizer, who the company fired for supposedly violating social distancing guidelines.

The company also laid-off Emily Cunningham and Maren Costa the week before after they expressed their dissatisfaction with the employer's policies regarding climate and labor. Meanwhile, in Minnesota, another worker was fired, Basir Mohamed, stated he believes it's payback for attempting to organize.

A representative for French labor union CFDT, Julien Vincent, added in a statement to Bloomberg that the firm finds the decision as a positive note as it will give them ample time to discuss further and increase their safety protocols.

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