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European trade unions accuse Amazon of spying on workers

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European trade unions accuse Amazon of spying on workers
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Delivery supergiant Amazon has been accused of spying on its workers by European trade unions.

The claims come after the company posted a job advert looking for two new "intelligence analysts" to keep track of potential threats to them, including organised labour and "hostile political leaders".

Industry representatives have sent a letter to the European Commission asking for an investigation into the matter.

Oliver Reothig, who is the regional secretary of the UNI Europe, the continent's services workers union, told Euronews that Amazon simply "cannot spy on workers and other parts of our society".

"We want the European Commission and the European institutions to really look into Amazon, and see what they are actually doing and how we can stop it. In Europe we have GDPR, we have data protection and privacy rights, and they need to be upheld, which means we have to investigate," he said.

The allegations stemmed from an advert that in which the company said it was looking for candidates with law enforcement or military experience.

Amazon has since deleted the advert and told Euronews: "The job post was not an accurate description of the role and it was made in error and has since been corrected."

The company also said it doesn't spy on anyone and that it was only trying to understand the environment in which it operates.

But a group of 37 Members of the European Parliament have written to Amazon's founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, demanding more information from him on the issue.

French MEP Leïla Chaibi who is part of the Group of the European United Left was one of them and told Euronews the "thing that is very surprising is that it was to monitor, in the same sentence, political leaders, workers, and terrorists.

"All of that put in the same sentence. So with the implication that being a political leader or being a terrorist is the same thing and also that being a trade unionist or being a terrorist is the same."

Unions are also concerned about the dominant position of the US giant in the online marketplace.

Roethig said: "We basically see Amazon push toward a situation where nobody can pay fair wages because Amazon is so competitive and so powerful. We need to stop this."

With the EU's new Digital Service Act, which addresses e-commerce, expected later this year, unions are calling on the Commission to take their concerns over Amazon into account when developing the new regulation.