Activists team up with workers to protest against Amazon

(IANS) An international group of climate activists have joined hands with warehouse workers to launch an online campaign called “Make Amazon Pay”, demanding that the e-commerce giant reduce carbon footprint and respect worker’s right to ask for better payments.

The coalition include Aapti Institute in India, All India IT and ITeS Employees’ Union, Amazon Employees for Climate Justice, Progressive International and UNI Global Union, among others.

Launched on Black Friday, the coalition has demanded that Amazon change its policies and governments change their laws to improve the workplace “by raising workers’ pay in all Amazon warehouses in line with the increasing wealth of the corporation, including hazard pay and premium pay for peak times.”

It also demanded that Amazon pay back to society by “paying taxes in full, in the countries where the real economic activity takes place, ending tax abuse through profit shifting, loopholes and the use of tax havens, and providing full tax transparency.”

“As Amazon’s corporate empire expands, so too has its carbon footprint, which is larger than two thirds of all countries in the world. Amazon’s growing delivery and cloud computer businesses are accelerating global climate breakdown,” the coalition said on its website.

The coalition demanded that Amazon commits to zero emissions by 2030.

“During the Covid-19 pandemic, Amazon became a trillion-dollar corporation, with CEO Jeff Bezos becoming the first person in history to amass $200 billion in personal wealth,” the campaign states on its website.

“Meanwhile, Amazon warehouse workers risked their lives as essential workers, and faced threats and intimidation if they spoke out for their rights to a fair wage.”

The campaign, which listed a number of other demands to “make Amazon pay” back more to society, plans demonstrations in several countries around the world.

Amazon had earlier said that it is committed to building a sustainable business for its customers and the planet.

In 2019, the company co-founded The Climate Pledge — a commitment to be net zero carbon across its business by 2040, 10 years ahead of the Paris Agreement.

“We encourage anyone interested in the facts to compare our overall pay and benefits, as well as our speed in managing this crisis, to other retailers and major employers across the country,” The Verge quoted an Amazon spokesperson Lisa Levandowski as saying in a statement.

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