Amazon shareholders demand more data on worker safety after 8 confirmed COVID-19 deaths

Amazon shareholders have demanded that the company reveal more data about the steps its taking to protect workers after it confirmed eight have now died of coronavirus.

Ahead of Amazon’s annual shareholders meeting on Wednesday, a group of shareholders have called on the company to be more transparent about its protection of staff during the pandemic after a swathe of complaints and protests.

While Amazon has not disclosed the exact number of employees who have died of coronavirus since the start of the outbreak, it confirmed it was at least eight workers who had been reported in the media.

Last Thursday, an “alternative” shareholder event was held where Amazon investors met with warehouse workers to talk over their concerns ahead of its annual shareholder meeting.

The meeting, led by CtW investment group which owns close to 1 million Amazon shares, saw around 260 employees attend including a former Amazon delivery driver who was sacked after raising safety concerns.

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While the group acknowledged that Amazon had been more transparent than usual about its internal operations, it had released no data about whether the new measures it had taken to protect workers was having any effect.

“What we are missing is the report on what is the impact of it,” head of responsible investments for the Americas at Dutch pension fund manager APG Asset Management Anna Pot said.

“The impression is that we’re still not there yet, that there are still unsafe working conditions.”

Pot and another key Amazon shareholder Scott Stringer, who together have roughly $4.2 billion invested in Amazon, penned a letter to the company demanding more data on the issue, citing a “disconnect between management’s reported employee initiatives and these media reports regarding widespread COVID-19 health and safety concerns among Amazon employees.”

The demands include virus transmission rates, complaints filed about worker safety, the impact on productivity, employee moral and workplace culture following the implementation of these safety initiatives.

An Amazon spokesperson declined to comment on the letter.

In Amazon’s quarterly results earlier this month, it stated that initiatives to both hire more staff and protect them from the virus was likely to wipe its entire projected $4 billion profits out in the coming quarter.

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