Christmas strike hits Amazon


Amazon boxWith just days until Christmas, German workers at online shopping giant Amazon have upped the pressure, walking off the job at three sites and protesting at the company’s US headquarters.

Employees at Amazon sites in Leipzig and Bad Hersfeld staged walkouts on Monday, calling for Amazon to align its pay with that normally paid in Germany’s retail and mail-order sectors.

And for the first time, a site in Graben in Bavaria also joined the movement.

A spokesman for Germany’s service sector union Verdi said 600 workers – out of 3,300 – had walked off the job in Bad Hersfeld, the biggest Amazon hub in Germany with more action expected Tuesday and Wednesday.

In Leipzig, 500 of the site’s 2,000 workers took part in the movement with workers expected to continue the strike until Saturday.

In Graben, about 350 strikers staged walkouts with more expected to join, Verdi said.

Verdi has been trying for months to bring the pay of Amazon’s 9,000 workers in Germany in line with wages in the distribution sector.

Amazon refuses, arguing that its distribution centres are logistics sites and that it pays its staff accordingly.

Wages in the logistics sector in Germany are lower than in the distribution sector.

Germany is Amazon’s biggest market outside the US, but months of strike action, as well as a scathing TV documentary broadcast earlier this year, have tarnished the company’s image.

In solidarity, US unions planned a protest Monday in front of Amazon’s global headquarters in Seattle, in the northwest of the United States.



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