This is the first major show of force of the year from opponents of Amazon. Saturday, January 30, several gatherings are expected at different places where the number one in online commerce has established itself or wishes to develop new infrastructures.
→ ANALYSIS. Amazon, controversial retail giant
The collective, which brings together, among others, the Friends of the Earth association, Attac, the ANV COP 21 movement or the Peasant Confederation, intends to denounce the working conditions of employees, the destruction of jobs in small businesses, the ecological impact of the company or tax evasion to which the group is accused of engaging.
A third party
“The epicenter of the mobilization” to believe Attac, will be located in Fournès, in the Gard, where the American company plans to build a gigantic warehouse of 38,800 m². If this small town near the Pont du Gard is so highlighted, it is among other things because it perfectly embodies Amazon’s strategy to increase its presence in France.
Since 2018 and the start of the project, now blocked by legal remedies, the name of Jeff Bezos’ company has never appeared. Argan, a company specializing in the development and rental of logistics platforms, is responsible for the construction of the warehouse. Only the scale of the project has fueled the rumor. Anti-Amazon activists accuse the firm of having resorted to a similar process in Ensisheim, in the Haut-Rhin, this time with the company Eurovia 16.
This recourse to third-party companies would allow the firm to avoid public protests and move forward with a masked face, until the project is too advanced to be stopped. For his part, Frédéric Duval, boss of Amazon France, has always denied the establishment on these two sites.
No moratorium for Amazon
The date of this mobilization is not trivial. It comes after the government’s decision on January 27 to exclude e-commerce warehouses from the moratorium on commercial zones of the bill transcribing the proposals of the Citizen’s Climate Convention. This decline in relation to the ambitions of the Convention should leave a free hand to Amazon to continue its establishment in France.
To date, Amazon, which landed in France in 2007, has 7 distribution centers and 4 sorting centers in addition to all its local infrastructures. In 2018, the French subsidiary generated sales of 4.5 billion euros.
Frédéric Duval has also publicly confirmed two new locations, near Metz and Quimper. For a time, the company also showed the ambition to set up in Dambach-la-Ville, in the Bas-Rhin, before retracting last December.
Alongside these official establishments, installation projects that the group has neither confirmed nor denied continue to be controversial and should be the subject of mobilizations during this day of action. The American group is particularly suspected of wanting to build a warehouse next to Lyon airport, and two logistics platforms in Montbert near Nantes and Fontaine, near Belfort.
This exponential development of Amazon is not only unhappy. Several local elected officials openly support these projects in the name of employment. They are all the more sensitive to the arguments of Amazon as the coveted territories often experience economic difficulties.
At the highest peak of the State, we do not want to get angry with this great provider of employment who employed more than 9,000 people in 2019. A few months after his election in 2017, Emmanuel Macron himself came to inaugurate the logistics center de Boves, near Amiens which has created 626 jobs in three years.
In Montbert, about sixty citizens had even demonstrated for the arrival of the American giant last December to defend the choice of “Development and employment”. They were responding to a demonstration by opponents a few weeks earlier which had attracted several thousand protesters.