Amazon employees in Germany to strike over pay | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 05.04.2013
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Amazon employees in Germany to strike over pay

Workers at an Amazon logistics center in the eastern German city of Leipzig have said they're willing to go on strike for a pay hike. Staff at two other centers in the country may join the action.

German trade union Verdi said Friday that employees of a big warehouse in the city of Leipzig were planning to go on strike, but did not specify when the work stoppages would begin. It only hinted that the action might last several days.

It would be the first strike ever at a logistics center of the US online merchant across Germany, Verdi added. The announcement followed a vote in which 97 percent of union members in Leipzig had thrown their weight behind industrial action in a bid to secure higher wages.

Amazon's Leipzig facility has 520 Verdi members and a total workforce of 1,200 permanent staff, plus 800 employees on temporary contracts.

Amazon surprised

The US firm which employs some 9,000 people across Germany said "staff at logistics centers in Germany were paid in the upper range of the usual rates in the industry." It also noted workers received regular bonuses on top of their wages and were given shares after two years of working for the merchant.

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Workers in two other German Amazon centers in Bad Hersfeld also threatened to initiate strike action, should ongoing talks between the unions and managers fail next week. "If negotiations come to nothing like they did in Leipzig, we'll start a warning strike next Tuesday," trade union official Heiner Reimann told AFP news agency.

Amazon last made headlines in Germany in February over allegations that security guards had been intimidating temporary foreign workers at several distribution centers.

hg/kms (dpa, AFP, Reuters)

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