- 1. What effect on employment?
- 2. What effect on the environment?
“Operational in the summer of 2021, the site will lead to the creation of 1,000 permanent jobs in the three years following its opening,” said Amazon on Tuesday in a press release. François Grosdidier, president of Metz-Métropole, explains that it is “the most important net job creation since the arrival of PSA more than 40 years ago”.
The argument relates in particular to regions “where the job market is weak,” said Jérôme Guilain, secretary (Sud Solidaire) of the Amazon CSE in Lauwin-Planque, in the North. “It is much easier for them to establish themselves in basins like Amiens where there were a lot of closures”, abounds Sandra Holota, CGT union representative on the Boves site, a place “where there is a great need for hires ”.
Amazon hammers home the number of jobs created – it targets 14,500 permanent contracts in France by the end of 2021 – but the unions qualify. “There is a lot of turnover, rare are those who stay more than 3 or 5 years”, explains Jérôme Guilain. “We are always followed by GPS, the chef knows where we are down to the second. You have to be mentally strong to last long. “
Opponents of Amazon such as the environmental association of “Friends of the Earth” also believe that the e-commerce giant is destroying more jobs than it creates, citing several dozen of thousands of jobs destroyed in France by the boom in online commerce.
The sociologist at the University of Paris Vincent Chabault, author in January of a “Praise of the store”, is cautious vis-à-vis “these militant speeches, on both sides”, but believes that “The employment argument put forward by Amazon is becoming more and more outdated because we are talking about jobs that can be largely automated” in warehouses.
Another argument motivating the opposition of some elected officials to the establishment of Amazon: its impact on the climate. The mayor of La Rochelle Jean-François Fountaine recently opposed the establishment of a logistics center of 5,700 m2 in the city’s seaport, believing that the “business model is not in phase with the agglomeration’s ecological transition ambitions ”.
But how do you measure this impact? A report produced in particular by France Stratégie and published recently simply recalls that this environmental assessment “is being discussed”. He calls for “caution” vis-à-vis the “very positive” results presented by the players, without quantifying this impact or comparing it with the environmental results of physical commerce.
“The volume of deliveries, one billion packages per year, mainly at home, can generate greenhouse gas emissions and fine particles, with major health consequences”, he indicated, recommending, jumbled, decarbonization delivery fleets, a rapid reform of trade taxation or that weighing on multinationals.
“Whether we like it or not, we can no longer do without Amazon … But we do not have to do only with Amazon”, concludes Laurent Dégousée of SUD-Solidaires. “Competitors are arriving, unions are developing…” But the American giant “must take over responsibility, we cannot be a non-exemplary No. 1”.
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