Green Party spokesperson on Human Rights and Foreign Affairs Golriz Ghahraman has signed on to a letter from law makers around the world, pledging to make Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos pay his debts to workers, communities and the planet.
The international push, led by Progressive International, has signatories from 400 law makers in 34 countries. This includes US Congresswomen Ilhan Omar, former UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, and Vice President of the European Parliament Heidi Hautala.
Golriz Ghahraman said:
“We have seen Amazon make obscene profits whilst actively avoiding their obligations on paying tax, exploiting the environment, and abusing workers’ rights.
“Most worrying for me is that while Mr Bezos personally profited USD 13 million per hour throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Amazon’s workers suffered poverty level pay and abusive working conditions.
“Amazon’s contribution to global emissions is equal to two thirds of the world’s nations, and we know they are not doing enough to fit within our planetary limits.
“It is important that Aotearoa condemns multinational organisations who reap mammoth profits, whilst evading tax, trashing our environment, and underpaying workers. It is time that our governments act in the global interest to ensure every one of these corporates is made accountable.
“I am sure that if all New Zealanders knew the harmful practices of Amazon, they wouldn’t be using their platform to purchase overseas products.
“I’d urge New Zealanders to shop locally and ethically. There are plenty of opportunities to do that here, with many small businesses here in New Zealand doing the right thing.
“I am proud to sign on to this letter demanding better from Amazon”.
Full Text of Letter
We, elected representatives, legislators, and public officials from around the world, hereby put you on notice that Amazon’s days of impunity are over. Last Friday, 27 November, workers, activists, and citizens around the world joined forces to demand justice from Amazon.
Today, we pledge to stand with this movement in every congress, parliament, and statehouse where we work. In short, we write to you now with a single commitment: to Make Amazon Pay. The world knows that Amazon can afford to pay its workers, its environmental cost and its taxes.
And yet – time and again – you have dodged and dismissed your debts to workers, societies, and the planet. Your great wealth is based on the skills of your workers and the care they receive from their friends, family and communities.
These are the very people who risked their health and that of their loved ones to supply goods to consumers and make you enormous profits. But while your personal wealth has risen by around US $13 million per hour in 2020, these workers enter dangerous working conditions, enjoy little or no increase in their pay, and face retaliation for their efforts to defend themselves and organize their colleagues. We pledge again, alongside your workers, to Make Amazon Pay. Your company’s rise to dominance has come with extraordinary costs to our environment.
While you have personally acknowledged the climate emergency among the defining challenges of our era, Amazon’s carbon footprint is greater than two-thirds of the world’s countries. Your plan for emissions reduction is both insufficient to stay within the environmental boundaries of our planet and difficult to trust given Amazon’s record of broken promises on sustainability and financial contributions to climate change denial.
We pledge again, on behalf of our planet, to Make Amazon Pay. Finally, you have undermined our democracies and their capacity to respond to collective challenges. Your monopolistic practices have squeezed small businesses, your web services have disrespected data rights, and you have contributed a pittance in return. For example, in 2017 and 2018, Amazon paid zero US federal corporation tax.
Through your global tax dodging, you damage the public provision of health, education, housing, social security and infrastructure. We pledge again, for our constituents, to Make Amazon Pay. We urge you to act decisively to change your policies and priorities to do right by your workers, their communities, and our planet. We stand ready to act in our respective legislatures to support the movement that is growing around the world to Make Amazon Pay.
The broader Make Amazon Pay campaign can be found here.