A red visual with a white text reading "We need a real ban on amazon lobbying" and "Trade unions and civil society call for a comprehensive ban on Amazon lobbying in the European Parliament". Below, in a black rectangle the text reads in white "#MakeAmazonPay". On the right corner of the visual there is a picture with signs reading on steps. "stop trashing the planet" and a  Jeff Bezos head made of papier-mâché

Trade unions and civil society call for comprehensive ban on Amazon lobbying in the European Parliament

Brussels, 14 March 2024 – Following the European Parliament’s decision to withdraw Amazon’s lobbying badges on 27 February, European trade unions and civil society call for a “comprehensive, transparent, and effective ban on Amazon lobbying in the European Parliament” in a letter released today.

In practice, this would mean extending the ban on Amazon’s 14 accredited lobbyists to “organisations that seek to influence decision-making processes on behalf of Amazon”. Moreover, the letter signed by over 20 trade unions and civil society organisations, including UNI Europa, Corporate Europe Observatory, LobbyControl and SOMO, calls for the “exclusion of Amazon representatives from the European Parliament building as guests” and “the refusal by MEPs to attend lobby meetings with Amazon off the premises of the European Parliament.

The letter, addressed to Secretary-General of the European Parliament Alessandro Chiocchetti and the College of Quaestors who are tasked with implementing the ban, argues that “Amazon’s voice extends far further than just its accredited lobbyists. The transparency register shows that, in 2023 alone, Amazon spent between €2,090,000-€3.099.982 on 20 consultancies that lobby on behalf of the company.”

Since the Parliament’s decision and additional public scrutiny, Amazon has also updated its registration in the EU Transparency Register.  The company now reports spending at least 4.5 million euros (up from 2.75 million), making it the 7th largest spender for a single company. This comes after Corporate Europe Observatory, Lobbycontrol and SOMO filed a complaint with the Secretariat of the EU Transparency Register earlier this year.

The measures outlined in the letter should only be lifted “if Amazon (1) attends a hearing on working conditions in its warehouses in a similar setup as the hearing on 23 January and (2) accepts a visit from the EMPL Committee and workers’ representatives to its warehouses in Poland and Germany once Committee missions are again allowed following the election time barring period for travel.”

The company’s track record, marred by allegations of exploitative labour practices, antitrust violations, tax dodging and environmental negligence, has drawn sharp criticism from advocacy groups worldwide. Just last week, following months of intense scrutiny from the press, civil society and government officials, Amazon agreed to pay US$1.9 million to reimburse more than 700 contracted warehouse workers in Saudi Arabia who were deceived by recruitment agents and labour supply companies.

The mounting pressure on Amazon is part of a broader campaign led by the Make Amazon Pay campaign, which mobilised strikes and protests across more than 30 countries on Black Friday 2023. 

Oliver Roethig, UNI Europa Regional Secretary, says: “Instead of negotiating with trade unions and paying its workers a decent wage, Amazon prefers to spend its money on lobbying and union-busting. Instead of facing public scrutiny for its practices, Amazon doesn’t show up to hearings in the European Parliament. But the days of impunity are over; the Parliament banned Amazon lobbyists from the institutions. Now, Amazon workers, trade unions and civil society are calling for a full implementation of the ban, including by extending it to organisations lobbying on Amazon’s behalf.”

Bram Vranken, Corporate Europe Observatory researcher and campaigner, comments: “Amazon spends an incredible amount on lobby firms to influence decision-makers on its behalf. Following the decision by the Parliament to ban Amazon from the Parliament, the company should not be able to buy its way back in. We need a comprehensive lobby ban.”

Margarida Silva, SOMO researcher, adds: “We are calling on the European Parliament to ensure that Amazon is not able to circumvent the lobby ban. Members of the European Parliament and their staff members must not open a side door for Amazon lobbyists and their intermediaries.”

Max Bank, LobbyControl campaigner, concludes: “The way Amazon treats the European Parliament reflects its lack of respect for democratic institutions. A strict and comprehensive lobby ban for Amazon is the right signal to deter monopoly power from undermining democratic institutions.”      


For media inquiries, please contact 

Daniel Kopp, UNI Europa Director of Communications
daniel.kopp@uniglobalunion.org; +49 160 553 58 57

Bram Vranken, Corporate Europe Observatory researcher and campaigner
bram@corporateeurope.org; +32 497 13 14 64 

Margarida Silva, SOMO researcher
margarida@somo.nl; +32 487 82 35 41

Max Bank, LobbyControl researcher and campaigner
presse@lobbycontrol.de; +49 30 467 26 72 11 

Notes to editor:

Co-convened by UNI Global Union and the Progressive International, Make Amazon Pay is a coalition of over 80 unions, civil society organisations,  environmentalists and tax watchdogs. Make Amazon Pay is united behind a set of common demands that Amazon pays its workers fairly and respects their right to join unions, pays its fair share of taxes and commits to real environmental sustainability.

  • In November 2023, CEO, LobbyControl and SOMO documented how Amazon has been ramping up its lobby presence across Europe.
  • In November 2023, LobbyControl published a legal opinion showing how the German competition authority can break up Amazon.
  • In June 2023, SOMO published a report on Amazon's monopoly over third-party sellers in its European marketplace.
  • In January 2023, UNI Global Union released an international study of the effects of Amazon's intrusive monitoring on workers' mental health.
  • In January 2023 CEO and LobbyControl documented how economic consultancies are spamming DG Competition on behalf of their Big Tech clients.
  • Information on Amazon's European Parliament lobby meetings provided by parltrack.eu

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