The Women of Big Bazaar SOS, a union of Future Group's women employees, has sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi's support in protecting their livelihood as Jeff Bezos-led Amazon and Kishore Biyani-led Future Group continue to be embroiled in a legal fracas.
This letter highlights the challenges that women employees of the group will have to face if Amazon continues to obstruct Future Group-RIL deal. "Since we had been facing tough times during the pandemic, this deal provided us with a lot of hope and confidence for our continued livelihoods. However, Amazon has tried to stop this tie-up, and consequently our future and that of our families hangs precariously," the group wrote in its letter to the Prime Minister. They added they and their families will suffer a lot and "will undergo untold and unimaginable hardships."
The group stated in the letter that if Amazon is allowed to interfere in the Future Group-Reliance deal, then small-town retail women employees and women of the extended support system will be affected the most. The group claims to represent over 2.1 lakh women-10,000 direct female employees and another 2 lakh indirect female employees whose livelihood depend on working for or supplying products to Future Group's subsidiaries- Big Bazaar and its retail chains- 7-Eleven, Brand Factory, Central, Easy Day, fbb, Heritage City and WH Smith.
The letter, which was written on March 8, referred to Future Retail and Reliance arrangement under which Reliance will continue to operate Future's retail stores. Under this deal, the Mukesh Ambani-led conglomerate has committed to clear all debts and dues owed by Future Group to its suppliers.
Traders' body All India Consumer Products Distributors Federation (AICPD) and NGO Prahar also wrote an open letter last week asking Amazon to "back off" from its bids to block the Reliance-Future Group deal. This letter added that around 6,000 Indian small vendors and suppliers, who have dues worth $800 million pending from Future Group, have become collateral damage in the ongoing tussle between these companies.
Amazon and Future Group have been locked in a legal imbroglio since 2020 over the sale of Future Group's retail and wholesale business to Reliance Retail.