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Amazon Workers Strike in Germany as Christmas Orders Peak

Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes | about 4 months ago

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Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "The Washington Post reports that in Germany, Amazon’s second-biggest market behind the United States, hundreds of Amazon.com workers went on strike just as pre-Christmas sales were set to peak, in a dispute over pay and conditions that has raged for months. Amazon, which employs 9,000 warehouse staff members in Germany plus 14,000 seasonal workers at nine distribution centers, says that 1,115 employees joined the strike at three sites. "Amazon must realize it cannot export its anti-union labor model to European shores. We call on the company to come to the table and sign a global agreement that guarantees the rights of workers,” says Philip Jennings of the global trade union UNI. Verdi organized several short stoppages this year to try to force Amazon to accept collective-bargaining agreements in the mail-order and retail industry as benchmarks for workers’ pay at Amazon’s German distribution centers. The union says Amazon workers receive lower wages than others in retail and mail-order jobs and that other retailers pay overtime, but Amazon does not. "What Amazon is doing is taking this American race-to-the-bottom roadshow to Germany and trying it out on our German brothers and sisters," says David Freiboth. Amazon has defended its wage policies, saying that employees earn toward the upper end of the pay scale of logistics companies in Germany. Amazon also says it prefers to address employment issues with worker councils at individual sites rather than through negotiations with the union. Amazon says that there have been no delays to deliveries. "Our customers can continue to rely on us for the prompt delivery of their Christmas presents," says a spokeswoman said, adding that Amazon uses its whole European logistics network during the Christmas period to ensure delivery times. A delegation of German workers was set to rally at Amazon’s headquarters in Seattle along with US unions. "We're standing in solidarity with them. We are asking that Amazon respect the union there in Germany and negotiate in a way that is acceptable to Ver.di," says Kathy Cummings of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, which was also attending the protest in Seattle."

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