Amazon, a global digital commerce giant and one of the world’s most profitable companies during the pandemic, will escape or be relieved of its responsibilities to workers, society and the environment.
This is the motto of the global “Make Amazon Pay” campaign, launched last Black Friday, a kind of shopping carnival based on the idea that it’s time for Amazon to settle those bills .
The signatories are Finland’s Heidi Hautala, vice-president of the European Parliament, US Congressmen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, a Somali-American who has been attacked by President Donald Trump and British Labor MP Corbyn.
Last week, the cause was approved by 401 lawmakers from 34 countries, including 11 from Brazil, including Marcelo Freixo, Luisa Erundina and Urea Carolina from PSOL, and Natalia Bonavides and Nito Teto from PT.
The campaign was supported by 50 organizations, including Greenpeace, Oxfam and the Tax Justice Network. They came together at the joint call of UNI Global Union, a Swiss-based global trade union organization and Progressive International, a movement created by intellectuals such as American linguist Noam Chomsky, Canadian writer and activist Naomi Klein for Greek economists equality and sustainability.
In a letter to Fez Bezos, the president of Amazon and the richest man in the world, the congressmen said that “the days of Amazon impunity are numbered.” And they are asking the company to review its policies and priorities for workers, their communities and the planet, making a public commitment to support the movement.
The document describes that, due to the pandemic and the intensification of online procurement, Bezos’ personal assets grew by approximately US $ 13 million (US $ 66 million) per hour in 2020, while his “employees maintained dangerous working conditions, with little or no increase in pay and face retaliation for efforts to organize colleagues and defend the interests of employees. “
The letter states that the company’s carbon emissions are higher than in several countries around the world, that the global giant’s monopoly practices are detrimental to local businesses, and that the company’s Internet services use user data in a disrespectful manner.
Asked by the report, Amazon said in a note that “the questions raised in this letter stem from a series of misrepresentations by ill-informed groups.” According to the company, Amazon supports employees, customers and communities and promotes “safe working conditions, competitive wages and great benefits”, in addition to paying billions of dollars in taxes globally.
Two weeks ago, Bezos announced the creation of a $ 10 billion (more than $ 50 billion) fund to study climate change.
For at least two years, Black Friday has been marked by protests and strikes by Amazon workers around the world. They report what they perceive as hard and unpaid working conditions, with unrealistic expectations of productivity.
In 2018, British journalist James Bloodworth published the book “Engaged: Six Months Hidden in Low-Wage Britain” (Atlantic Books), in which he described what it was like to work in an Amazon warehouse where employees he said were subject to disciplinary action regime concerning the prison system and where sick leave is reduced.