Amazon threatens strikes in seven camps in Germany because of better pay and working conditions

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Workers in some Amazon warehouses in Germany started strike actions on Monday, the services union Verdi said as part of a longstanding battle with the US technology giant for better wages and working conditions.

Germany is Amazon’s largest market after the US, and Verdi, a leading union in the service sector, has been organizing strikes at Amazon locations in the country since 2013 to protest low wages and poor working conditions.

Verdi said it called the latest strike to demand a pay raise in line with the agreements the union made with the broader retail and mail order business in Germany.

The union said workers in three Amazon warehouses in Saxony and Hesse would go on strike on Monday, coinciding with All Saints’ Day, which is a public holiday in some German states.

She did not want to say how many workers joined the strike on Monday.

Workers at four other locations will go on strike early Tuesday morning, and the strikes would last anywhere from 24 hours to up to three days, Verdi said.

“It is unacceptable that a multinational corporation worth billions of dollars and making money with a fist still refuses to give its employees the wage increases paid by other companies in the industry,” Verdi representative Orhan Akman said in a statement .

Verdi wants Amazon to recognize collective agreements in retail and mail order and to come to an agreement with Amazon on fair working conditions.

Amazon said in a statement that it offers great pay, benefits, and career opportunities.

The company said it did not see any impact of the strike on its customers.

At the beginning of the year, Amazon announced that it would guarantee a starting wage in its German warehouses of EUR 12 (approx. 1,040 rupees) per hour from July, which will rise to at least EUR 12.50 (approx. 1,080 rupees) per hour from autumn 2022.

Amazon’s wages exceed the current German minimum wage of 9.60 euros (around 830 rupees) per hour. However, the minimum wage in Germany will be raised to 12 euros (around 1,040 rupees) if the next coalition government made up of center-left Social Democrats, the Greens and the FDP reaches an agreement.

© Thomson Reuters 2021

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