Business & Finance
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Amazon has closed its six French distribution centres after a French court ruled that it was not doing enough to protect workers amid the coronavirus pandemic.
With lockdown measures forcing the closure of all non-essential businesses, Amazon has become a vital source of shopping for many households in Monaco.
However, a court in Nanterre issued an emergency ruling on Tuesday requiring the company to stop selling non-essential goods for a month while it works out new safety measures or face a penalty of €1 million for each day it fails to comply.
It follows the filing of a complaint by a French labour union which accused the online delivery giant of endangering the lives of workers.
In a statement on Wednesday, Amazon said it was “perplexed” by the court ruling and that it plans to appeal.
It said it would temporarily suspend activities in its distribution centres “despite the huge investment that we have made to ensure and strengthen by additional measures the safety of our employees who remained mobilised during this crisis.”
Sales of food, medicine and hygiene supplies are still allowed under the ruling, however Amazon France’s chief executive Frédéric Duval told RTL radio that the ruling was too vague and, given the size of the fine and the complexity of its activities, the risk was “too high” to continue operating.
The company said it will ask employees to stay at home, but “will continue to serve our customers through independent companies that sell on Amazon” via its global distribution network.
It means that customers who order from third-party companies that use the Amazon website but send items directly will still receive their goods.
Mr Duval said the company would work with unions to ensure the sites could reopen quickly, but added: “I cannot confirm at this stage on what date they will reopen.”
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