Amazon has decided to close its six fulfillment centers in France until Monday, according to an internal document seen by Capital and Reuters. The company also said publicly that it’ll probably appeal yesterday’s court decision that restrict orders to essential goods.
Yesterday, a French court ruled that Amazon hasn’t been doing enough to protect warehouse workers from the coronavirus. The company had already been “prioritizing” essential items over non-essential ones. But union representatives and labor inspection complained that it has been hard to respect social distancing, for instance.
While a union (Sud Solidaires) referred to a court to shut down warehouses altogether, the court has ruled that Amazon can still process orders of groceries, hygiene and health-related products. Of course, Amazon can go back to operating as usual if it can prove that it has overhauled its operations to protect its employees against COVID-19-related risks.
But it seems like restricting orders to essential items doesn’t make sense for Amazon’s bottom line as it is shutting down its warehouses for five days. The company will evaluate risks and make some changes to ensure the safety of its employees.
Amazon’s public statement is quite different. “We are puzzled by yesterday’s court ruling in Nanterre as we have given hard evidence on security measures that we’ve taken to protect our employees,” the company wrote on Twitter. It doesn’t really make sense to say that if Amazon is shutting down warehouses at the same time.
The company also writes that it “thinks” it’ll appeal the ruling. At least one Amazon employee has been diagnosed with coronavirus in France.