Amazon to reopen French warehouses after union deal for COVID-19 safety

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Amazon buildings

Amazon buildings


James Martin/CNET

Amazon reportedly will reopen six warehouses in France on Tuesday after reaching an agreement with labor unions about how to operate safely in a time during the COVID-19 pandemic caused by the coronavirus

The e-commerce giant is playing an important role shipping goods to people around the world affected by stay-at-home orders to try to halt the spread of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus. But Amazon shut down its warehouses in France in April after a French court ruled in favor of workers concerned about of inadequate protections.

The compromise, which Amazon and labor leaders both confirmed, reflects the difficulties involved in balancing economic activity and safety. Nations, businesses and health authorities are trying to find the best way to let people leave their homes without causing more fatalities. COVID-19 has killed more than 300,000 people worldwide.

The warehouses will gradually reopen with new protections for the 10,000 workers in France and Amazon won’t appeal the case to France’s Supreme Court, according to reports in The New York Times and Reuters. New provisions include weekly meetings between management and laborers to evaluate safety and shorter shifts to allow time for social distancing during shift changes.

Amazon didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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