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Thursday, 17 April 2014 10:45

Revolting Germans spurn Amazon

Written by Nick Farrell

Everyone out

German labour union Verdi has called on workers at online book seller Amazon to go on strike as part of their long-running pay dispute. Verdi negotiator Joerg Lauenroth-Mago said that he had enough of Amazon refusing to talk about a wage agreement.

Workers at distribution centres in Leipzig and Bad Hersfeld were to walk off the job starting with the morning shift. Verdi wants Amazon to raise pay for workers at its distribution centres in accordance with collective bargaining agreements across the mail order and retail industry in Germany. Amazon insists that warehouse staff were logistics workers and says they receive above-average pay by the standards of that industry.

Online retail firms in Germany have an image of companies that relentlessly drive their workers while paying them relatively little. Zalando, Europe's biggest online fashion retailer has been recently exposed in a critical report by a German undercover journalist. Amazon employs a total of 9,000 warehouse staff at nine distribution centres in Germany and has plus 14,000 seasonal workers.

Late last month hundreds of workers walked out at its site in the eastern German city of Leipzig, and several centers were hit by work stoppages.

Nick Farrell

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