Danish pension fund pressure on online retail giant Amazon is increasing, with nine more pension funds joining an alliance to push the US firm to ensure its workers have what the investors say are basic labour rights.

In all, 12 Danish labour-market pension providers are now part of the initiative formed in last autum by Sampension, PenSam and PKA, which wanted Amazon to submit to an independent report showing how it concretely ensured employees’ rights.

The now-enlarged group said in a joint statement yesterday: “With the initiative, we are also sending a strong signal that labour rights are a central focus area for Danish investors, and that we take the many cases about Amazon in this area very seriously.”

The new additions to the engagement link-up are PensionDanmark, AP Pension, AkademikerPension, Danica Pension, Danske Bank Asset Management, Nordea Investment Management, PBU, PFA and Velliv.

The investors said they had each exerted influence over Amazon regarding employee rights through various schemes in the past, but had now decided they would have more impact by banding together.

“There is a movement underway internationally, where more and more investors are putting pressure on Amazon regarding labour rights,” they said.

The Danish pension provider group now represents collective assets under management of around DKK5trn (€671bn) – nearly all of Denmark’s privately-managed occupational pension savings.

PensionDanmark said that at Amazon’s annual general meeting last May, a shareholder proposal for Amazon to prepare a report on how it ensured employees’ right to organise and bargain collectively had been backed by 38% of the US firm’s capital.

This year a proposal had been made, the pension fund said, asking Amazon’s board to request an independent assessment of the company’s approach to ensuring employees’ right to organise and bargain collectively.

Jan Kæraa Rasmussen, PensionDanmark’s head of ESG and sustainability, said the pension fund had been involved in several international coalitions in relation to Amazon, but this was the first time one has been established on a Danish basis.

“The Danish model, which is based on respect for the central role of the social partners in society, constitutes a strong common starting point,” he said.

In February, PBU announced it was divesting its DKK300m of Amazon shares, saying it had not been possible to enter into a dialogue about the company’s ”problematic behaviour” – though PBU said at the time it would still back investor efforts to get responses from the US firm.

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