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STRIKES

More public workers strike as wage dispute wears on with states

Public workers staged limited strikes on Monday in the states of Schleswig-Holstein and Baden-Württemberg as a long-running wage dispute between public workers and states continues.

More public workers strike as wage dispute wears on with states
A Verdi public worker's strike in Hannover last week. Photo: DPA

Road maintenance, regional government, public administration and school workers have all been called by their unions to strike in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein – but because many of them are civil servants and are not allowed to strike, the strikes are not expected to make a big impact.

Public worker demonstrations are expected during the day in Lübeck and Kiel as the day progresses.

Meanwhile in the southwestern state of Baden-Württemberg, university workers, student unions and regional administrators will stage warning strikes. More strikes are planned in the region for Wednesday too.

Public worker’s union Verdi and civil servant’s union DBB will enter a third round of wage talks with the German states next weekend in Potsdam. They are demanding an eight percent salary increase, or a minimum of €200 more per month for the 700,000 workers they represent. The unions have called for warning strikes across the country in recent weeks as the wage dispute escalates.

CHRISTMAS

Strikes hit Amazon in Germany in the run up to Christmas

Around 2,500 Amazon employees at seven sites across Germany were on strike on Tuesday and unions warned stoppages could continue up to Christmas.

Amazon parcel in factory
A parcel rolls along a conveyor belt at an Amazon packing facility in Gera, Thuringia. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Bodo Schackow

The strikes at so-called “fulfilment” centres, where Amazon prepares packages before delivery, began in two locations on Monday.

The Verdi union is calling on Amazon for an “immediate” salary increase of three percent this year, followed by a further 1.7 percent next year, in line with a collective agreement for the retail sector, to which the e-commerce giant does not adhere.

Amazon could not continue to “refuse wage increases that other companies in the sector pay”, Verdi retail head Orhan Akman said in a statement Monday.

Amazon, which operates 17 centres in Germany, argues it is a logistics company, a sector in which the terms of work are considered to be less burdensome for the employer.

Amazon said it did not expect the strike to have an impact on clients.

However, a Verdi spokesman said the stoppage could cause disruption, particularly in Amazon’s rapid-delivery “Prime” offering.

Strikes were likely to continue “until the end of the year”, the spokesman said, impacting on the busy Christmas shopping period.

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Verdi, which first called for strikes at Amazon in May 2013, organised demonstrations outside the fulfilment centres on Tuesday to protest poor working conditions.

Amazon — which has seen its business boom during the coronavirus pandemic as consumers increasingly shopped online — announced in September that it would open eight new centres in Germany, creating 3,000 jobs by 2022.

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