Employees of online retailer Amazon are on strike in the German town of Bad Hersfeld and the city of Leipzig.
When balloted by labour union ver.di in April, 97 percent of the company’s 9,000 workers in Germany voted in favour of industrial action.
Employees are arguing their wages should be in line with what’s paid in Germany’s retail sector, rather than the lower pay common in the logistics sector, which is what they currently receive.
Amazon maintains the workers are primarily doing a logistics job by packing and mailing. The company says it pays on the upper end of that scale.
“The strike is happening for a lot of reasons. It’s about working conditions here, which need to be improved. The salaries we’re paid don’t correspond with what we’re entitled to. We had a considerable impact on setting this up and we receive very little,” said Amazon employee Markus Herd.
An agreement may not be reached anytime soon, according to ver.di representative Heiner Reimann, who said:
“We’re counting on a dispute that could last for a while. Amazon, so far, has shown that they are unwilling to negotiate. They are willing to talk, but unwilling to actually negotiate. So we are preparing for open-ended industrial action,” Reimann said.
Germany is Amazon’s second biggest market behind the US, and just ahead of the UK and Japan.