Amazon Just Got Banned From the EU Parliament

Amazon has become the second company ever to have its lobbyists banned from the European Parliament, amid accusations that the company does not take the institution seriously.

The ban, which means the 14 Amazon employees who had access to the European Parliament can no longer enter the building without an invitation, follows the company’s decision not to attend a January hearing about working conditions inside its fulfillment centers. In December, Amazon also rejected MEPs’ [members of European Parliament] requests to tour its fulfillment centers, citing how busy they were over the Christmas period.

“This is not a serious way to treat the European Parliament,” says Dragoș Pîslaru, the Romanian MEP and chair of the Parliament’s Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, who formally requested the ban. “We are representing 500 million citizens and it is not a joke. You cannot just say that your senior representatives are not available when the parliament is asking you.”

Companies originating outside Europe should take the EU Parliament as seriously as the US Congress, he adds. “The European Parliament is not holding grudges,” he says. “This is about us requesting to be respected as an institution.”

The row has erupted as concerns about working conditions in Amazon fulfillment centers are mounting in Europe. In January, the French data protection authority fined Amazon €32 million ($34 million) for operating what it called an “excessively intrusive system for monitoring employee activity.” In November, Amazon workers in Germany and Italy walked off the job on Black Friday to demand better pay and working conditions. Amazon says it has 150,000 employees within the EU.

“The fact that Amazon refuses to come and present their arguments whenever we call them is worrying,” says Pîslaru. “This is not my subjective opinion. This is based on how the parliament should work.”

Source : Wired