Amazon hit by first strike in Germany

May 14, 2013
Striking Amazon workers outside the company's logistics centre in Leipzig, Germany, on Tuesday. German employees of Amazon staged their first-ever walkouts on Tuesday as the US Internet retail giant was hit by a dispute over pay.

German employees of Amazon staged their first-ever walkouts on Tuesday as the US Internet retail giant was hit by a dispute over pay.

Employees at two logistics centres in Bad Hersfeld and Leipzig launched a strike with the start of the early shift at 6:00 am (0400 GMT), the giant services sector union Verdi said.

In Bad Hersfeld, strikers planned to march to a rally in the city centre at around 11:00 am (0900 GMT), while employees in Leipzig rallied in front of the warehouse.

"There's a good atmosphere. The whole thing is really great," said Verdi's chief negotiator Joerg Lauenroth-Mago.

Verdi is demanding that Amazon's 9,000 employees in Germany be paid according to a sector-wide wage deal for the retail and mail-order industries.

But the head of Amazon Germany, Ralf Kleber, rejected such demands in recent press interviews.

Bad Hersfeld is the largest of Amazon's seven distribution centres in Germany, with a workforce of more than 3,000. The Leipzig site employs around 2,000 people.

Striking Amazon workers near the company's logistics centre in Bad Hersfeld, Germany, on Tuesday. Employees at two logistics centres in Bad Hersfeld and Leipzig launched a strike with the start of the early shift at 6:00 am (0400 GMT), the giant services sector union Verdi said.

Amazon says it pays an hourly wage of 9.30 euros ($12) to employees in their first year and then 10 euros after that.

Verdi is calling for a minimum hourly wage of 10.66 euros for Leipzig.

Amazon's working conditions in Germany were the subject of a public television documentary earlier this year which accused the group of bringing workers in from crisis-hit countries such as Spain to work at Amazon warehouses.

The documentary alleged that employees were subjected to bullying from security personnel, some of whom wore clothing associated with neo-Nazi groups.

It also alleged that Amazon paid the workers less than advertised and that their belongings were regularly searched in the temporary housing they were provided.

Explore further: Baidu profit up 27 percent as mobile grows

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Hundreds of Amazon workers in Germany demonstrate

Apr 09, 2013

Hundreds of workers at the biggest German-based site of online retailer Amazon demonstrated on Tuesday, according to a trade union which plans strike action over better working conditions.

Germany demands probe of Amazon work conditions

Feb 17, 2013

A German government minister called Sunday for a thorough probe into allegations that foreign seasonal workers hired in Germany by US online retail giant Amazon were harassed and intimidated.

Amazon fires German security firm amid probe

Feb 18, 2013

(AP)—Online retailer Amazon reacted to mounting criticism Monday by firing a security company named in a German television documentary about alleged mistreatment of foreign temporary workers.

Recommended for you

Lenovo wraps up purchase of Motorola phone unit

5 hours ago

Lenovo Group announced the completion of its acquisition of Motorola Mobility from Google Inc. on Thursday in a move aimed at making the Chinese computer maker a global smartphone brand.

Baidu profit up 27 percent as mobile grows

8 hours ago

Chinese search engine Baidu Inc. said Thursday its quarterly profit rose 27 percent as user traffic for its mobile operation surpassed passed its desktop computer-based search business.

Samsung vows changes after mobile profit plunges

9 hours ago

Samsung Electronics Co. admitted erring in its smartphone strategy and vowed Thursday to overhaul its handset lineup after profit from those devices tumbled last quarter to the lowest in more than three years.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.