Amazon hit with 250 million euro tax bill by the European Union
Global e-commerce giant Amazon has been slapped with a 250 million euro tax bill by the European Union after it was alleged that the company had been given an unfair tax deal in Luxembourg. At the UNI Amazon Organising meeting in Barcelona, union leaders applauded the EU decision to force Amazon to pay their fair share of tax.
UNI Global Union General Secretary said, “We welcome the European Union decision to force these digi-sharks to pay their fair share of taxes. We condemn the unethical tax dodging of corporate globalisation - whether corporations are digital or not, they operate in a geographical space and must pay their taxes in the countries they operate in. Tax dodging is symptomatic of Amazon’s casual and irresponsible attitude to its workers, its consumers and society at large.”
However, something is happening at Amazon - workers and trade unions across Europe are looking for ways to organise. In Barcelona this week, UNI and FES are organising with unionists from over 10 countries. The goal is to convince Amazon to sit down and negotiate with trade unions so that workers can enjoy what they are entitled to - decent wages, decent working conditions and decent work-life balance.
Amazon’s mistreatment of workers and history of tax dodging is well-documented, as is their virulent anti-union stance. There has already been strike action in Germany - all around the world, workers and trade unions are uniting to stand up against Amazon's bad labour practices. Working for Amazon in one of their “fulfilment centres” has been described by many workers as stressful, intrusive and intimidating.
Amazon has been under investigation by the European Commission since 2014 after allegations that their tax deals in Luxembourg had broken EU rules. Companies such as Amazon, Apple and Facebook have come in for a great deal of criticism in the past few years due to paying substantially less tax than other businesses.
In the UK, Amazon’s tax bill fell 50 % in the last year, even though the company recorded a 54% increase in turnover for the same time period.
According to NYU Stern Professor of Business Scott Galloway, the “Four Horsemen”, Amazon, Google, Facebook and Apple employ about 418,000 employees worldwide, but have a combined stock market value of 2.3 trillion, roughly the same GDP as France, a developed nation of 67 million citizens. UNI Global Union welcomes the move by the EU to make Amazon and other digital corporations pay their fair share of taxes.
On Monday UNI Global Union is organising a summit on the Future World of Work, where we will be looking closer at the broader consequences of the domination of data ownership and flows by just a handful of companies.