Trade unions at impasse with Amazon France over wage negotiations

·2-min read

Among the unions representing Amazon France's 15,500 employees, only one – the CFE-CGC executives' union – this week signed an agreement for a 3.5 percent pay rise. The others say this isn't enough given high rates of inflation.

After a final meeting this week, the CFDT union said they would not sign up to the wage increase on offer as "the proposal remains indecent".

On 1 May, the various workers' unions at Amazon France had complained that the management of the US giant was "blackmailing" them, saying that if the unions did not sign their proposal of a 3.5 percent increase on Tuesday, a 3 percent increase in salaries would be decided unilaterally.

In the end, only the CFE-CGC signed an accord in line with its long-standing demand for a 13th month of annual pay for certain employees.

After two and a half hours of talks, the group's French management decided to "remain unilaterally on a 3.5 percent increase" said Morgane Boulard, a spokesperson for the CFDT.

However, the rest of the unions refused to sign up because they wanted at least 5 percent in line with the existing rate of inflation.

Only a few years ago the basic salary at Amazon was 15 to 20 percent above the minimum wage – now only a few cents above it.

Benefits and allowances cut

Amazon's management have however underlined that the pay in the company after 24 months was "25 percent higher than the minimum wage".

However, the group has cut back on some of the benefits that previously existed.

The number of authorised absences without justification has been reduced from three days to one; a better retirement allowance has been shelved; and adjustments to working hours for people who want to have medically assisted pregnancy have reportedly been withdrawn.

Proposed wage increase not in line with inflation

In a statement Amazon France's management said it was "pleased to confirm the attractive salary increase proposal made by Amazon, which it thought was well positioned for its employees and which will be implemented in eight distribution centres, along with other financial measures".

Included among the measures are the creation of supervisor status for computer technicians or the maintaining of end-of-year bonuses.

Industrial action began on 4 April on all eight of Amazon's logistics sites in France.

The CGT union – which said in a statement last week that the company "prefers failure to dialogue" – has pointed out that Amazon was going to "charge its sellers 5 percent tax to cope with the rise in fuel prices", but refused "to give 5 percent to these employees so that they can cope with the rise in fuel prices".

The US giant made over €31 billion in profits in 2021, although inflation and shortages are weighing on its economic outlook for 2022.

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