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Over 400 Lawmakers From 34 Countries Sign Letter Supporting Make Amazon Pay Campaign

Over 400 Lawmakers From 34 Countries Sign Letter Supporting Make Amazon Pay Campaign
A campaign that claims the e-commerce and tech giant Amazon has "dodged and dismissed … debts to workers, societies, and the planet," has found support from more than 400 lawmakers from 34 countries, the organizers of the campaign said. The lawmakers have signed a letter supporting the campaign which was sent to Amazon boss Jeff Bezos.  
A coalition of over 50 organisations launched the Make Amazon Pay campaign on November 27, the day of the annual Black Friday shopping bonanza of Amazon. The organizations demands include enhancing working conditions at the company and complete transparency with respect to taxes paid by Amazon.
The co-convenors of the campaign, Progressive International and UNI Global Union, said that those who have supported the campaign and signed the letter include US Congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, former UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and Vice President of the European Parliament Heidi Hautala.
"We urge you to act decisively to change your policies and priorities to do right by your workers, their communities, and our planet," the letter said. "We stand ready to act in our respective legislatures to support the movement that is growing around the world to Make Amazon Pay," it added.
Criticisms from various quarters, including in the United Kingdom and the European Union, about its tax practices have been faced earlier by Amazon, the largest retailer of the world. in response to the criticisms, Amazon has explained that it only manages to achieve low profit margins because of the high competition in the retail industry which makes it a low margin business as well as because it constantly makes heavy investments.
Many of the issues that have been raised in the letter were based on misleading assertions, Amazon said on Thursday even while the company said that it accepted scrutiny of its business practices from policymakers.
"Amazon has a strong track record of supporting our employees, our customers, and our communities, including providing safe working conditions, competitive wages and great benefits," it said. Amazon added that it was "paying billions of dollars in taxes globally."
The Covid-19 pandemic has seen strong growth for Amazon as the company’s sales rose with people being confined to their homes and many of the physical retail shops closed down as governments imposed restrictions to prevent the spread of the pandemic which pushed more consumers to shop from online sources.
With the aim of dissuading worries about competition, tougher rules for big tech companies are being contemplated by governments worldwide.
For example, Amazon was charged last month by the European Union of charges of causing damage to competition in the retail business segment and alleged that the company utilised its size, power and data for gaining an unfair advantage over smaller merchants that use the company’s platform to sell their products.
The charges by the EU against it were refuted by Amazon and argued that the business of the company was less than 1 per cent of the global retail market and every country in which it operated already had larger retailers than it.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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