Amazon France pay deal rejected by unions on last day of talks

PARIS (Reuters) – Most unions at U.S. e-commerce giant Amazon’s French arm rejected the company’s 2022 pay proposal on the final day of talks, but no immediate industrial action is planned, union representatives said.

A group unions had proposed a 5% pay increase to compensate for a sharp rise in inflation in France. The company, meanwhile, offered a 3.5% general increase from June 1, with only the CFE-CGC management union accepting the terms, union sources said.

“In any other year this would have been a good proposal but, since December, inflation is rocketing, with energy, food and other prices going up sharply,” said Jean-Francois Berot, a representative of the SUD union.

Union sources said there could be some employee action in the coming days or weeks, but no strikes have been planned so far.

A statement from Amazon said that its proposal was better than the 2-2.5% median wage increases at big companies this year. It also said that salaries for Amazon France staff have risen by more than 5.6% over the past 12 months, which it said corresponded to increases to the French minimum wage over that period.

“We are pleased to confirm Amazon’s competitive wage increase proposal, which we believe is fair for our employees and will now be implemented in our eight fulfilment centres, including other financial measures,” it said.

A company spokeswoman said that the 3.5% increase will be on top of existing benefits such as free shares and contributions to transport costs.

“The company had threatened to lower its offer to 3% if there was no deal by Tuesday, but in the end Amazon stuck with the 3.5% offer. The proposal will pass, but without (majority) union approval,” said CFDT union member Morgane Boulard.

In April all of Amazon’s eight logistics centres in France were hit by staff walkouts tied to a dispute over pay.

Amazon said it employs close to 15,500 staff on permanent contracts in France and plans to create 3,000 more permanent positions this year.

(Reporting by GV De Clercq; Editing by David Gregorio and David Goodman)