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STRIKES

Amazon hit by fresh German strikes

Further strikes hit online retailer Amazon on Monday morning in Germany, as a long-standing dispute over pay rumbled on.

Amazon hit by fresh German strikes
Amazon's distribution centre in Leipzig. Photo: DPA

Worker's union Verdi announced the strike on Monday among employees at Amazon's Leipzig distribution centre.

A Verdi spokesman said they would fight “across Germany and Europe” if Amazon continued to reject talks. But the online order company said last Wednesday that it would not negotiate.

Jörg Lauenroth-Mago from Verdi said the strikes from the past year would continue.

In a statement on its Facebook page posted on Monday morning, Verdi said Amazon had been given plenty of time since the last industrial action before Christmas to come to an agreement with the union.

Campaigners have been trying for months to bring the pay of Amazon's 9,000 workers in Germany in line with wages in the distribution sector.

Amazon has so far refused, arguing that its distribution centers are logistics sites and that it pays its staff accordingly. Wages in the logistics sector in Germany are lower than in distribution.

A series of strikes were also held before Christmas in Leipzig, Augsburg and Bad Hersfeld.

Germany is Amazon’s second biggest market after the US.  

SEE ALSO: Amazon workers protest against strikes

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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.

READ ALSO: 

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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