Amazon shareholders voted down all investor-led proposals at the tech giant’s AGM on Wednesday afternoon.
Among the 15 shareholder proposals, rejected resolutions included those critical of the company’s use of plastics and particular concealment agreements in contracts.
The $1tn e-commerce giant had pushed back against all of the shareholder proposals, the highest number it has faced since 2010.
In total, 19 issues were voted on.
The board had recommended investors to vote against resolutions such as a request for additional reporting on freedom of association and one calling for additional reporting on gender/racial pay.
Investors voted down a proposal that the company should conduct an independent audit of warehouse workers wages and working conditions, proposed by activist investor Tulipshare.
Tulipshare would keep pushing on the topic of workers’ rights at Amazon, the investor’s CEO Antoine Argouges said on Wednesday evening.
“Whilst we are disappointed that our proposal did not pass today, this vote was just the beginning in the fight for workers rights,” he added.
In his first AGM at the helm of the company, Amazon chief executive Andy Jassy defended the firm with regards to safety and said the company had introduced useful measures – including anti-slip shoes to software meant to predict and prevent repetitive stress injuries.
The CEO admitted a speedy recruitment of new employees amid the pandemic could have contributed to injury rates, with around 300,000 workers in 2021 alone. “When you hire a lot of people, your (injury) rates tend to go up,” he said.
The worker rights proposals were considered unlikely, considering founder Jeff Bezos controls 12.7 per cent of the votes
In a blog post earlier this month, Amazon’s 14th biggest shareholder Legal & General’s insurance group said it intended to vote against Bezos, stating that the “LGIM also considers the CEO of the company to be accountable for any longstanding ESG failings”.
The company has been under increasing pressure to address its workers’ rights, including working conditions, pay gaps and tax transparency.
Legal & General’s £1.3tn investment arm also planned to vote against Amazon’s recommendations of setting up an independent investigation into the firm’s human rights issues.
This was echoed by Schroders, which stated it would be voting against management’s recommendations in the three worker related resolutions.
Top-10 shareholders in Amazon, Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, said it would vote in favour of the entire board line-up, but against management proposals to commission reports on issues like reducing plastic use and tax transparency.
More to follow…