The message we’re delivering? It’s time to Make Amazon Pay

The message we’re delivering? It’s time to Make Amazon Pay

Amazon is one of the most powerful corporations in the world and is headed by the richest person on the planet – CEO Jeff Bezos. At Oxfam, we’ve been focused on ensuring that companies like Amazon take their human rights obligations seriously for some time now. That is why we made the decision to join over 200 million activists and workers in a new coalition called Make Amazon Pay – to stand in solidarity with allies and workers in their call on the company to address workers’ rights, tax and climate justice.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, Amazon became a trillion-dollar corporation, with Bezos becoming the first person in history to make $200 billion in personal wealth. Meanwhile, the company’s warehouse workers risked their lives everyday as essential workers. In addition, as Amazon’s corporate empire rapidly grows, so too has its carbon footprint, which is now larger than two thirds of all countries in the world (!) and is feeding into climate breakdown.

Despite Amazon’s success, instead of giving back to the societies that helped it grow, the corporation starves them of tax revenue by tax dodging. In 2019, Amazon paid just 1.2 percent tax in the US, where its headquarters are based, up from zero percent the two previous years. Yes, you heard that right – zero percent.

Amazon is not alone in these bad practices but it sits at the heart of a failed system that drives inequality and climate breakdown. The pandemic has exposed how it places profits ahead of workers, society and our planet. Basically, it takes a lot but gives little back – so it’s time to Make Amazon Pay. This is why organisations like Oxfam have joined workers, activists, and citizens from across the globe to Make Amazon Pay.

Pay its workers fairly.

Pay for its impact on the environment.

Pay its taxes.

What do we want?

  • Amazon must provide paid sick leave, hazard pay, and premium pay for peak time hours to all their warehouse and retail workers. More than ever before, the Covid-19 pandemic reveals how essential it is that all workers can stay home when they’re sick or need to care for others. Essential workers should be compensated for the risk they undertake to keep our food supply available.
  • Amazon must talk to their workers to develop the best solutions. Supermarket and warehouse workers know the realities of their workplaces better than company headquarters. They know what will work and what won’t. Amazon should immediately engage with workers, unions and worker advocates in all jobs, from cashiers to the warehouse staff, to hear their concerns and jointly develop the best solutions to support them. Placing an hourly worker on Amazon’s board would ensure that workers’ voices are heard at the highest level of the company.
  • Amazon must ensure workers’ rights throughout its supply chains globally by actively promoting worker voice and representation, and giving its workers the freedom to unionise.
  • In line with its existing commitment, Amazon must follow through on a transparent and robust human rights due diligence process where at least one human rights impact assessment is completed and published in 2021.
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