Third day-long strike hits Amazon in Germany

Amazon has suffered another strike in Germany, with workers at the logistics centres in Leipzig and Bad Hersfeld walking out over pay and conditions.
Written by Moritz Jaeger, Contributor

Amazon's German logistic centres in Leipzig and Bad Hersfeld have once again seen workers out on strike.

On Monday, German trade union Ver.di organised another one-day strike at the two facilities to protest against Amazon's wages and working conditions.

"The atmosphere is getting tense," Ver.di spokesman Jörg Lauenroth-Mago told FR-Online. "We want to escalate things, and we have no problem increasing the pressure," added Heiner Reimann, the strike leader in Bad Hersfeld.

amazon strike verdi
Workers on strike at one of Amazon's logistics centres. Image: Ver.di

It's the third time in recent weeks that Amazon employees have walked out. The first strike was held on 9 April, with a second following on 27 May.

According to Ver.di, this week's strike lasted all day. However, Amazon customers won't see any delays as a result of the industrial action, a spokesperson told the newspaper FR-Online.

Ver.di and Amazon are arguing over labour conditions and wages for the company's German employees. The trade union has an agreement with other retailers – known as a tariff - which sets, among other things, the minimum hourly wage for employees. In Leipzig, the tariff stipulates that wage should be €10.66 per hour, whereas Amazon pays its employees in the city €9.30, Ver.di said.

The difference in even bigger in the region of Hessen: retailers that have adopted the tariff pay at least €12.18 per hour, while Amazon pays €9.83. Along with wages, the tariff also regulates when and how overtime and night-working supplements are paid as well as holiday entitlements.

Amazon argues that it is not a retailer, but rather sees itself as a logistics company. The logistics sector has a separate tariff, and one that's a lot cheaper. Amazon hasn't adopted that tariff either, but its pay and conditions are more in step with the sector's norms than retail's.

Ver.di does not agree with Amazon's stance and believes that Germany's biggest online retailer should follow the rules and tariff for the retail industry.

"Amazon employees do a great job every day and perform under extremely high pressure. They deserve to finally have their working conditions and wages guaranteed by appropriate collective agreements," Ver.di said in a statement.

Amazon employs around 9,000 people in Germany across eight sites. Leipzig (with around 2,000 employees) and Bad Hersfeld (about 3,300 employees) are among the biggest logistics centres in the country.

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