Danish pension fund AkademikerPension said it is persisting with its efforts to persuade Amazon to let employees join trade unions – filing another joint shareholder proposal at the internet retailer’s upcoming annual general meeting – because of its labour-market “DNA”.

The pension fund said that like many other US firms, Amazon had – in its view – major challenges when it came to respecting the right for employees to organise themselves in unions and negotiate collectively.

AkademikerPension, which currently holds DKK603m (€80.8m) in Amazon equities and bonds, has put its name to a shareholder proposal filed at the Amazon AGM taking place on 22 May, calling for the company to to report through an independent third party on whether it complies with such rights.

Jens Munch Holst, chief executive officer of the DKK171bn (€22.9bn) pension fund for academic degree holders, said: “It doesn’t sit very well with our values as a labour-market pension fund, so we’ve been raising this with the American companies we invest in for many years.

“At the same time, we believe that companies that respect and observe these basic rights are run in a better way way, and are therefore a better, long-term investment,” he said.

Munch Holst said the investors behind the proposal were fully aware, as they had been last year, that changing the perception of trade unions among certain US companies would be a long and hard process.

The pension fund said similar AGM proposals had been voted down in both 2022 and 2023, although the most recent of those received 38% of the vote.

“But with our DNA, it is crucial that we engage in upsetting the status quo,” Munch Holst said.

The pension fund said that alongside the shareholder proposal, it was continuing its dialogue on labour rights with Amazon’s management through the initiative it became part of in 2023.

That initiative is in collaboration with fellow Danish pension funds Sampension, PenSam, PKA, AP Pension, Danica Pension, PBU, PensionDanmark, PFA, Velliv and ATP, as well as Danske Bank Asset Management and Nordea Investment Management.

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