Amazon Faces Strike by German Workers

October 27, 2014 by Douglas A. McIntyre

Some of Amazon.com Inc.’s (NASDAQ: AMZN) German workforce have called another strike. The action follows several others, as Amazon employees at several of its distribution centers try to get better compensation.

According to the Ver.di union website:

Verdi calls the employees at Amazon this week again to work stoppages on. For the first time the mail order company is doing from day strike simultaneously at five locations, namely in Bad Hersfeld (Hesse), Leipzig (Saxony), digging (Bavaria), Werne and Rheinberg (both North Rhine-Westphalia). The walkout starts today in Bad Hersfeld and Leipzig with the night shift, trench, Werne and Rheinberg follow with the morning shift. [via Google Translate]

Amazon has blocked collective bargaining as well. Part of Amazon’s argument is that warehouse workers are not “retail” workers and therefore are not subject to “retail” worker pay.

The union addressed the ongoing subject when referring to strikes last month:

A collective agreement may effectively put a high working pressure and significant health burdens in shifts, at night and on weekends boundaries,” says Stefanie Nutzenberger, Verdi national executive member with responsibility for trade. A collective agreement, which guarantees the existence-securing income workers and working conditions with protection rules on working hours, holidays or breaks, is also a matter of respect, the Amazon owe its employees.

In Bad Hersfeld, Leipzig, Rheinberg and Graben the strikes continue until and including Wednesday at the end of the late shift, in Werne until Tuesday at the end of the late shift. Last around 2,000 employees took part in at Amazon more day strike in September. The mail order company denied its workers a collective agreement so far, not even to collective bargaining is one of Amazon ready. [via Google Translate]

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Amazon has dodged the pressure for unionization in Germany so far. However, the series of strikes could hurt its business in the country if workers can effectively hamper Amazon’s ability to get products to its customers in the nation that is Europe’s largest economy by gross domestic product.

There is a small chance that, if German unions are able to get Amazon workers better wages, then the e-commerce giant’s U.S. warehouse workers may wonder if they can bring pressure about wages on it as well.