Citing concerns over “data security involving foreign entities,” the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is putting on hold its plan to create a new for-profit digital payment system that would benefit companies like Amazon. The announcement comes after UNI Global Union along with the All India State Bank of India Staff Federation (AISBISF), IT for Change and the Joint Action Committee Against Foreign Retail and E-commerce’ (JACAFRE) called on the bank to reject the system in part because of Amazon’s notorious anti-union and anti-competitive practices.
“… Amazon as an entity goes contrary to the principles of equity and fairness, and it is being investigated for its unfair, abusive, and anti-competitive conducts in several jurisdictions, including in India,” the coalition stated in a letter submitted to the central bank in June.
“The RBI decision to put the New Umbrella Entity plan on hold is a step in the right direction,” said Rajendra Acharya, UNI Global Union Regional Secretary for the Asia Pacific. “We’ve said it before, India shouldn’t give away its digital wallet to corporations with a history of unethical, anti-worker, and anti-competitive practices.”
Currently, Amazon is being investigated by India’s Enforcement Directorate, the Foreign Exchange Management, and the Competition Commission of India for violation of Foreign Direct Investment Rules and anti-competitive behaviour. Also, several petitions have been filed against Amazon by small traders and trader associations.
Reuters has also reported that Amazon gives preference to certain “special” sellers on its e-commerce platform in India. The majority of sales on Amazon’s platform came from a small number of large vendors, where Amazon also holds equity shares or are in some way related to Amazon.
Globally, Amazon has also been under the scrutiny of enforcement agencies. In the United States, it has been noted that Amazon has been engaged in ‘extensive anticompetitive’ conduct in its treatment of third-party sellers on its platform. An anti-trust investigation is also being carried by the US Federal Trade Commission. Amazon has previously paid millions of dollars to FTC to settle the charges against it for violating the contract with its delivery drivers.
Similarly, Amazon is being investigated for allegedly violating the competition law of the European Union–for its dual role as a seller and the owner of its online marketplace, which Amazon allegedly uses to the disadvantage of other vendors.
Following global worker unrest in Amazon warehouses and increased scrutiny over the U.S. tech giant’s treatment of workers, the European Parliament is calling on Amazon’s chief executive Jeff Bezos to testify before its Employment and Social Affairs Committee.
Last October, 37 members of the European Parliament (MEPs) submitted a letter to the company’s CEO Jeff Bezos calling for urgent action in response to labour unions’ demands for a euro-wide investigate into what they consider a “breach of European labour, data and privacy laws,” by Amazon.
UNI Global Union represents more than 20 million workers from over 150 different countries in the fastest growing service sectors in the world. UNI and our affiliates in all regions are driven by the responsibility to ensure these jobs are decent and workers’ rights are protected, including the right to join a union and collective bargaining.