Amazon lobbyists 'banned' by European Parliament

Amazon lobbyists can no longer enter the European Parliament following concerns raised about the company's alleged unfair working conditions in the EU.

Chair of the Social Affairs and Employment Committee Dragoș Pîslaru confirmed that as of 27 February, it had been decided that 14 long-term access badges for representatives of Amazon would be revoked, noting no new access badges would be issued until further notice.

“It was just fair to apply our Rules of Procedure and withdraw the long-term badges of Amazon representatives,” Pîslaru said. “We understand that Amazon is ready to cooperate from now on, it just remains to be seen how this will happen in practice in the next legislature and if lessons were truly learned.”

Pîslaru went on to say that ensuring fair working conditions was a key component of the European Pillar of Social Rights and that his duty as chair of the Employment and Social Affairs Committee was to ensure that “the rights of European workers are respected and their voices heard”.

He continued: “When there were concerns expressed at European level about the working conditions of Amazon employees in the European Union, we could not remain ignorant to this situation and, according to our mandate, we put it on the agenda of our committee.”

Pîslaru also alleged that Amazon had refused to engage in public dialogue with lawmakers which had made it “impossible" for MEPs and European citizens to gain first-hand accounts from the company's management on the pressing questions and allegations concerning Amazon's breach of fundamental rights of assembly, association, collective bargaining and action as well as fair and just working conditions.

In a statement on the issue, Amazon said it had made repeated attempts to engage constructively with members of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs and was “disappointed” that the decision has been taken to withdraw Amazon employees’ access badges to the European Parliament.

“We always treat our responsibilities to the Parliament and other institutions seriously, and we agree that a company such as ours—with over 150,000 employees in the EU alone—should be scrutinised,” Amazon said. “We welcome that scrutiny because we think it helps make us better.”

Amazon also refuted Pîslaru’s assertion from an earlier missive that Amazon had cancelled visits to its working sites.

Amazon concluded: “It is our sincere hope that we can continue to engage with MEPs proactively and amicably, as we have done for more than a quarter of a century.”

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