Special Feature
Part of a ZDNet Special Feature: Coronavirus: Business and technology in a pandemic

Amazon to start re-opening French warehouses on May 19

Amazon is finalizing the re-opening process with French unions and work councils after five weeks of discussions regarding ways to keep workers safe.

Amazon on Friday confirmed it plans to gradually start re-opening its French warehouses on May 19, about a month after shutting them down

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In April, Amazon shut down its six French fulfillment centers in response to a French court order. The Nanterre Court of Justice, just outside of Paris, ordered the e-commerce giant to limit its warehouse operations to essential goods to protect workers from the COVID-19 virus, or risk a daily fine of 1 million euros.  

The ruling came in response to a complaint from a labor union, arguing that Amazon was continuing with operations "as if nothing had happened." The court said normal operations could resume once Amazon had put in place sufficient safety measures for its workers. Amazon decided to close its fulfillment centers completely rather than run the risk of accidentally shipping non-essential items. 

In a statement, Amazon spokesperson Lisa Levandowski said Amazon is currently finalizing the re-opening process with French unions and work councils. 

"We are hopeful that we will be able to re-open our French fulfilment centres in the coming days," she said. "This follows five weeks of discussions in which we have repeatedly provided clarification and information about the extensive safety measures already implemented at our fulfilment centres to keep our employees safe."

The pandemic is taking a hefty financial toll on Amazon's business. With the release of its first quarter financial results last month, the company said it expects just about all of its Q2 operating income -- approximately $4 billion -- to go toward costs related to COVID-19.

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