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Black Friday: Amazon workers in Germany go on strike over working conditions

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Amazon walkouts in Germany on Black Friday.
Amazon walkouts in Germany on Black Friday.   -   Copyright  Paul Sancya/Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved
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About 2,500 German employees of the American giant Amazon are on strike during the Black Friday sales to demand better working conditions.

It's at the call of the Ver.di union, who estimated on Thursday that around 2,500 strikers would be taking part.

Walkouts are planned in several logistics centres across the country, in Leipzig, Bad Hersfeld, Rheinberg, Werne, Augsburg and Koblenz.

"We call on the workers of seven Amazon shipping centres to a three-day strike," the German services union said in a statement on Thursday.

Started on Wednesday evening, the movement is to continue until Saturday, with the aim of disrupting the Black Friday sales operation organised by Amazon on Friday.

"It is more than similar actions in the past. In view of the difficult conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is a great success," said a spokesperson for the union.

The employees are called to a "silent strike" - without large gatherings because of the health context.

At this stage, the movement has "no consequence on delivery to customers, because most employees work normally," Amazon assures AFP for its part.

Ver.di has, for several years, been calling on Amazon to recognise regional collective agreements that apply to retail and mail order, which the group has consistently refused to do.

The union also asks the American giant to adopt an agreement to "ensure better protection of the health and safety of workers".

According to Ver.di, "health protection measures" against the COVID-19 pandemic "are not being respected" in some Amazon centres in the country.

The union says two outbreaks of COVID-19, in Graben and Augsburg, recently led to the infection of more than a thousand workers.

Amazon employs 16,000 people in Germany, and some 10,000 more seasonal workers during the festive period.

WATCH: Our correspondent in Berlin, Kate Brady has more details: