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Amazon workers in Germany to stage strike

December 15, 2014

Workers at Amazon warehouses in Germany have launched a fresh strike, the latest in an ongoing wage dispute with the US-based online retailer. The walkout is aimed to coincide with the company's peak holiday season.

strike by Amazon
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/H. Schmidt

Amazon workers in Germany began a new three-day strike on Monday, demanding better pay and conditions, as holiday orders on the e-commerce site peak.

German labor union Verdi said its members walked off the job for the second time in a week at five of Amazon's dispatch centers in Germany. The union has been pushing for higher pay, arguing Amazon employees receive lower wages than others in retail and mail-order jobs.

Amazon, in turn, said its distribution warehouses in the country are "logistics centers." German workers earn relatively high wages for that industry, it said.

To introduce collective bargaining into its German operations, workers from Bad Hersfeld, Leipzig, Graben, Rheinberg and Werne will strike until late Wednesday.

Verdi warned shoppers could expect delays in receiving their packages due to the protests, but Amazon said customers could expect punctual deliveries in time for Christmas.

Last year, Amazon orders in Germany peaked on Dec. 15, when customers bought 4.6 million items, or 53 per second.

The Seattle-based company employs about 9,000 people at nine locations across Germany.

It is unknown how many people will be involved in the strike, according to Verdi.

el/sgb (AP, Reuters, dpa)