4/17/14

Amazon workers in Germany go on strike, again

Workers’ union Ver.di called for the retailer’s employees at three German work sites to stay off work today in protest of what they say are low wages. Ver.di has staged such strikes among Amazon’s German workers on and off for the last year.

Amy Dusto , Associate Editor

What do they want? Higher wages. When do they want them? Now.

Workers at three Amazon facilities in Germany were on strike again today, the latest in a series of strikes over wages that began a year ago. German labor union Ver.di (Vereinte Dienstleistungsgewerkschaft, or United Services Union), has been organizing the protests. According to Ver.di, Amazon pays its laborers two-thirds the wages offered by comparable German companies. In Germany, wage scales are set by industry; Ver.di wants Amazon workers reclassified as part of the retail or mail order industries, which pay more than the logistics industry, the category Amazon puts them in. 

Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment. When its German warehouse workers staged Ver.di-sanctioned strikes at the same warehouses earlier, including in March and December 2013, the world’s largest online retailer said it preferred to negotiate with its workers in Amazon-organized councils rather than through the labor union. Amazon first established those councils at its German warehouses last June, in response to earlier protests, according to the Ver.di web site.

Amazon is No. 1 in the Europe 500 and the Top 500.

Ver.di did not immediately respond to a request for details on how many workers participated in the strike.

Topics:

Amazon, e-commerce, fulfillment centers, Germany, labor union, Ver.di, wage protest, workers strike

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