German Amazon workers distance themselves from union demands | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 06.01.2014
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German Amazon workers distance themselves from union demands

A group of employees working for Amazon in Germany have declared they're not seeing eye to eye with their service sector union. The latter said it was planning more industrial action over a protracted pay dispute.

German services-sector union Verdi confirmed Monday it was planning more strike actions at as many locations of Amazon logistics centers in the country as possible after pre-Christmas industrial action in Leipzig and Bad Hersfeld didn't yield the desired results.

Verdi wants Amazon to pay its workers in Germany in line with wages in the retail sector, while the US company itself keeps emphasizing that it is right in paying wages normal for the logistics industry, claiming that it has a better pay structure than most others in that sector.

According to a report in Monday's edition of the German regional daily Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung, more than one thousand workers from Amazon's centers at Bad Hersfeld and Leipzig openly voiced their discontent with Verdi's current policy, distancing themselves from "the demands, arguments and statements made by the union and the picture it created about the workforce in the public."

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The employees in question noted that what Verdi had said about their working conditions had nothing to do with the realities on the ground.

Verdi spokesman Jan Jurczyk said it was not unusual for a certain part of the workforce to disagree with the demands put up by the relevant trade union. But he said it was alarming to see some denying themselves the prospect of getting higher wages.

Jurczyk added that he respected the workers' worries, but insisted that business models whose long-term success was based on low wages had no justification whatsoever.

hg/tj (dpa, AFP)

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