Amazon shareholders are set to vote on a worker’s rights proposal for the first time ever, as the tech giant comes under increasing pressure to respond to public controversies.
The proposal, led by activist investor Tulipshare, calls on Amazon to undertake an independent audit of working conditions and the treatment of warehouse workers.
The proposal made it to the ballot box after a rule change by the Securities Exchange Commission, which now prevents companies from blocking significant social issues.
Commenting on the upcoming vote, chief exec Antoine Argouges said: “It is shocking that Amazon have continued attempting to avoid dealing with undeniable workers rights violations, even though an enormous percentage of the general public are calling for a vote on the working conditions of their warehouse workers at this year’s AGM.”
“Having our proposal on the ballot marks a momentous step in accountability. Thousands of retail investors expressed interest in our Amazon campaign and this AGM provides the opportunity for all shareholders to have their say on what has been an enormous workers’ rights issue. We hope to be joined by many shareholders and take the first step in securing a better future for all warehouse workers at Amazon.”
Asset management firm Schroders have also publicly indicated it intends to vote yes to the proposal. ISS and Glass Lewis have all also indicated supportive voting guidelines on workers’ rights. Workers Capital and SOC have also revealed their recommendations to support.
Today’s AGM will be chief executive Andy Jassy first one at the helm, and it is understood that the $1tn ecommerce giant is pushing back against all 15 of the shareholder proposals; this is the most it has faced since 2010, according to regulatory filings.
Founder and former chief Jeff Bezos controls 12.7 per cent of the overall vote.
Amazon’s stock price has fallen nearly 40 per cent in the year to date as big tech like Alphabet and Meta get battered on the markets.