A visual on a red background with a picture from an anti-Amazon protest

A victory for workers everywhere – European trade unions and civil society welcome decision on Amazon EU lobby ban

Weeks after Amazon workers and civil society allies  demanded an Amazon ban from European institutions, the European Parliament will be withdrawing Amazon’s lobbying badges. As a result, the company will effectively be barred from lobbying inside the European Parliament. This is only the second time in the history of the European Parliament, after Monsanto in 2017, that a corporation’s lobby access is removed.

The move comes after Amazon’s repeated refusal to attend hearings in the European Parliament on working conditions in Amazon warehouses. Amazon is a frequent visitor to the EU Parliament. In January alone, it had nine meetings with MEPs, including a meeting just a day after the hearing.

Earlier this month, over 30 trade unions and civil society organisations, including Corporate Europe Observatory, UNI Europa, the ETUC, LobbyControl and SOMO sent a joint letter to European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, who forwarded the request to the College of Quaestors, in support of the removal of Amazon’s badges. The College, made up of five Members of the European Parliament, confirmed the decision today at a meeting. Now, the Secretary-General of the European Parliament, Alessandro Chiocchetti, is set to execute the decision.

Numbers from LobbyFacts.eu show that, since 2013, Amazon has allocated a staggering €18.8 million towards lobbying European institutions, demonstrating the company's commitment to influencing policy decisions. Additionally, Amazon currently employs fourteen lobbyists accredited by the European Parliament.

Further, the Secretariat of the EU Transparency Register is investigating Amazon for failing to report on its affiliations to several think tanks and declaring a lobbying budget that is seemingly too low. This investigation was opened following complaints from civil society organisations. To ensure that Amazon abides by the EU’s lobby regulations and today’s decision from the European Parliament, the EU Institutions need to strengthen their scrutiny of EU lobbying.

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.

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