Amazon Loses Appeal, Deliveries Remain Limited During Covid-19 Pandemic

Amazon France

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A French court rejected an appeal from U.S. online retailer Amazon against a ruling that limits what it can deliver during the coronavirus crisis.

Amazon must restrict deliveries in France to IT products, health items, food and pet food, the Court of Appeal in Versailles said today, adding that Amazon would face a €100,000 penalty for every delivery not meeting this requirement.

Across France and Monaco, people in lockdown have been depending on the e-commerce giant, which helped the company’s market value jump 5% over the last quarter to hit a record high market value of $1.1 trillion.

But Amazon workers, from the U.S. to Italy, have been raising a red flag concerning sanitary protocols. France is the only country where union grumblings about overcrowded fulfillment centers and the processing of “everything from sex toys to video games” led to a legal battle.

A ruling on April 14 from the French courts in Nanterre stated that the company “obviously disregarded its obligation of security and prevention of the health of the employees” in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.

Amazon was ordered to stop all deliveries, except for essential items, such as food, hygiene and medical supplies.

To avoid fines of €1 million per day, on April l6 Amazon temporarily closed its six French packaging centers, which in February counted 6,500 permanent staff and 3,600 temporary employees.

The current shutdown is affecting the 10,000 third-party French vendors who sell though Amazon's site.

Victor Mazoyer, a butcher in southeastern France, told France 24 that as his customers disappeared when lockdown started, his sales through Amazon took off. “We used to have some five orders a week online...and we've gone up to 50 parcels of meat,” he said.

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