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28.04.2020 Europe

Amazon extends French warehouse closures after Covid-19 court ruling

By RFI
AFP/File
LISTEN APR 28, 2020
AFP/File

Leading US online retailer Amazon has said it will extend the closure of its six warehouses in France to 5 May after a French court rejected the company's appeal against a ruling forbidding it from delivering nonessential items during the coronavirus crisis.

Amazon said in a statement on Monday that its workers will be asked to stay home until 5 May, adding they will receive full pay.

"We have no choice but to extend the temporary suspension of activities at our French distribution centres while we evaluate the best way to operate in light of the Court of Appeal decision," it said.

The court of Appeal maintained in its ruling last Friday that only essential health and food goods could be delivered during the coronavirus pandemic.

However, it extended the list of goods to include digital products, office goods, pet supplies, groceries, drinks and personal care products.

The appeals court also lowered the amount Amazon would be fined for each violation, from 1 million euros down to 100,000 euros.

Despite these moves, Amazon suggested that it could not afford to open its distribution centres, for fear of making errors in judgement with unauthorized products.

Amazon's warehouses in France, which employ some 10,000 people have been closed since mid April.

Unions complained that the company had not respected adequate safety measures for employees in light of the spread of coronavirus.

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