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AUM in Action

Investors Demand Amazon Answers Human Rights Claims 

A group of 50 investors led by CCLA has written to retail giant Amazon expressing concern over the group’s treatment of workers at its Coventry fulfilment centre in the UK. The letter follows legal action against Amazon by the GMB union, which accuses the Seattle-based company of “widespread attempts to coerce staff to cancel their trade union membership”. The union claims Amazon posted anti-union messages on notice boards in the Coventry warehouse, and held long meetings with staff in which management was critical of the union. It also alleges the company put up QR codes that generate an email to the union’s membership department requesting that membership is cancelled. The signatories of the letter, which represent more than US$1.2 trillion in assets under management and advice and include UK pension provider NEST and Norway’s Storebrand, expresses concern Amazon is not living up to its commitment to International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Core Conventions, the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, and the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. “In light of the countless media reports and allegations, and given two major ESG data providers have expressed concerns, questions from investors need to be answered,” CCLA CEO Peter Hugh Smith said in a statement. “We want to see Amazon appoint a reputable third party to assess how they implement their human rights policies in UK fulfilment centres and to commit to rectifying any areas of non-conformance identified. The clock is ticking and it is time for Amazon to set the record straight,” he said. At Amazon’s AGM in May,  37.5% of independent shareholders voted for a resolution calling for an independent report into the company’s commitment to collective bargaining rights. 

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