French court orders Amazon to suspend non-essential sales

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French court orders Amazon to suspend non-essential sales

(AP) — A French court has ordered Amazon to stop selling, receiving or delivering non-essential goods for the next month to protect its employees from the virus.

Amazon protested Tuesday’s emergency ruling, while unions hailed it as a victory for workers’ rights and public health.

The ruling requires Amazon to evaluate health risks at all its facilities around France and negotiate new safety measures with worker representatives.

Amazon must suspend its non-essential trade within 24 hours or face 1 million euros ($1.1 million) in fines per day. Sales of food, medicine and hygiene supplies are still allowed.

Online giants like Amazon have clashed for years with European legal systems, and virus safety measures have become the latest battleground.

The decision also serves as a reminder to governments and companies that essential workers are worried, and that restarting economies while the virus is still spreading will be a delicate undertaking.

“It is a great victory for us,” said Tatiana Campagne of union SUD, which filed the legal complaint alongside environmental group Amis de la Terre. “We feel that the health of workers was taken into account.”

Several walkouts and protests have drawn attention to fear and discontent among low-wage workers on the front lines of the pandemic, particularly those packing and delivering groceries and other essentials.

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