CAIT extends support to 'MakeAmazonPay' global campaignNEW DELHI: Traders’ body CAIT on Tuesday extended support to the global campaign #MakeAmazonPay, which alleges that the e-commerce giant made big profits but at a huge cost to workers and the planet. However, the company has denied the allegations and termed the charges “misleading assertions by misinformed or self-interested groups”.

CAIT Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal said, “We express our support and solidarity with the just cause of the global movement ‘MakeAmazonPay’. Indian traders led by CAIT are ready to join the campaign, which is supported by warehouse workers, environmental activists and advocates for racial, tax and data justice around the world.”

He said the body will observe December 1-7 as “#exposeoffenders week” in which the trade associations will launch an aggressive campaign “against e-commerce companies who are habitual law offenders and will impress upon the government to bring e-commerce policy with an empowered regulatory authority”.

Khandelwal said CAIT will also urge the Centre to issue a fresh press note in lieu of press note No. 2 of FDI policy “removing disparities and anomalies of press note No 2”.

During the week, trade associations will also take out a march in their respective districts and hand over an exhaustive memorandum to district collectors asking the government to streamline e-commerce business in India.

“It is not just in India that Amazon is facing criticism for its unfair and potentially exploitative practices. Wherever Amazon operates in the world, it is being criticised for anti-competitive business practices, exploiting its workers, and damaging the climate,” CAIT said in a statement.

Khandelwal also referred to a news story published in The Guardian.

“With such exploitative practices, companies like Amazon will destroy India’s local business culture and will destabilise the foundation of India’s MSME sector, which is the lifeline of Indian economy. Therefore, we are opposing the business model of Amazon,” he added.

CAIT has appealed to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal to take note of the article in The Guardian’s and initiate all necessary action.

In the article, Casper Gelderblom, a coordinator at the Progressive International, said the campaign, using the hashtag #MakeAmazonPay, brings together warehouse workers, environmental activists and advocates for racial, tax, and data justice around the world.

The article mentioned that organisations and groups including UNI Global Union, Amazon Workers International, PSI, IndustriALL, Athena coalition, International Trade Union Confederation, Amazon Employees for Climate Justice, Greenpeace, etc, are supporting the campaign.

“Through strikes, boycotts and solidarity actions, people are ready to fight Amazon’s malpractice and defend the rights of workers, citizens and frontline communities bearing the burden of environmental breakdown”, Gelderblom said, adding that the global movement is to ensure Amazon pays its workers properly, respects their right to organise, and builds worker power.

The article points out that Amazon made USD 960 billion in the past decade, but paid just USD 3.4 billion in taxes.

It points out that the workers in Amazon’s warehouses are unhappy, alleging exploitative HR practices particularly when Amazon’s valuation and Jeff Bezos’ personal wealth has skyrocketed in the pandemic.

There are allegations that the e-commerce giant monitors its warehouse workers, and has spied on their efforts to organise.

In response, an Amazon spokesperson said, “This is a series of misleading assertions by misinformed or self-interested groups who are using Amazon’s profile to further their individual causes”.

Amazon has a strong track record of supporting its employees, customers and communities, the spokesperson said in a statement.

These include providing safe working conditions, competitive wages and great benefits, leading on climate change with the ‘Climate Pledge’ commitment to be net zero carbon by 2040, and paying billions of dollars in taxes globally, the spokesperson added.

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