Distribution Centers

Amazon hit by Christmas strike action

  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Amazon has bucked the trend in Germany by failing to reach a collective bargaining agreemetn with its workers, making it a target for industrial action.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • Amazon employs around 12,000 people in Germany at nine warehouse logistics centers.
    • Germany is the firm’s second-largest market outside the U.S. In 2015, it had sales of $11.8 billion, or €11.3 billion, in Germany.
    • The U.S. retailer generated $107 billion in sales globally last year, of which $70.5 billion was in the United States.
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    Audio

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Some Amazon workers are not happy about their pay. Source: Jan Woitas / DPA

Union Ver.di has called on its members to stage more strikes at online retailer Amazon’s German operations over the next three days, one of the busiest shopping periods of the year.

The strike, over pay and conditions, will hit three of the firm’s distribution centers in the states of North-Rhine Westphalia and Bavaria from Thursday, adding to a strike in the western city of Koblenz, where Ver.di members have stopped working since Monday.

Amazon said only few employees were taking part or would participate in the walkouts, according to news agency Reuters, which cited a company spokeswoman. Deliveries would be on time, the spokeswoman said.

Germany is Amazon’s second-largest market after the United States in terms of revenue.

Germany is Amazon’s second-largest market after the United States in terms of revenue, with around $11.8 billion, or €11.3 billion, worth of products and services sold annually. The Seattle-based firm turned over $107 billion last year, of which $70.5 billion was in the United States.

Ver.di, Germany’s biggest union, has been targeting Amazon for about three years, organizing industrial action at Amazon’s nine warehouses across Germany. The union wants the firm to pay its workers under the collective bargaining agreement used in Germany’s retail sector, which guarantees a higher starting wage than in the logistics industry. Amazon takes the latter as a reference to determine wages; it has no collective agreement in Germany.

 

Gilbert Kreijger is an editor with Handelsblatt Global Edition in Berlin, covering companies and markets. To contact the author:  kreijger@handelsblatt.com

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