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Amazon workers protest at Jeff Bezos prize ceremony in Berlin

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Amazon workers protest at Jeff Bezos prize ceremony in Berlin
A demonstrator wearing a mask of Jeff Bezos at the protest on Tuesday. Photo: DPA
08:30 CEST+02:00
Hundreds of Amazon employers protested on Tuesday against working conditions in Berlin, where the megagroup's founder Jeff Bezos was due to receive a prize.

"We have a worldwide problem, a boss who wants to impose American working conditions on the world," said Frank Bsirske, head of the Verdi union representing Amazon workers.  

"It's like going back to the 19th century." 

Chanting and holding banners reading "Make Bezos pay", workers gathered in front of the German publishing group Axel Springer, where the Amazon boss was to receive an award. 

The prize, given by the publisher of German's mass-selling daily Bild, rewards innovation in business, and the choice of Bezos has been met with anger among unions and some politicians.  

Andreas Nahles, head of the Social Democrats that are in coalition with Chancellor Angela Merkel, said Bezos "didn't deserve any prize", pointing to working conditions at Amazon sites in Germany.  

Organizers of Tuesday's rally said Amazon workers came from as far afield as Poland and Italy to voice their displeasure.  

The French CFDT union said the gathering "denounced illegal practices and disastrous working conditions" in the company.  

It said there had been "several undeclared workplace accidents" and accused Amazon of monitoring the computer records of employees.

Bezos -- the richest man in the world, according to Forbes magazine -- was quoted by the German DPA news agency as saying he was "very proud of our working conditions" in response to the gathering. 

In March, Spanish Amazon staff held their first work stoppage to protest new working guidelines.  

Amazon boasts more than 560,000 employees, and reported a profit last year of slightly more than $3 billion (€2.45 billion). 

Amazon has previously said that its salaries are at the higher end of the logistics sector range and employees enjoy attractive benefits.

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