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Amazon.Com's German Workers Set To Continue Walkout Over Pay

posted 17 Dec 2013, 05:42 by Mpelembe   [ updated 17 Dec 2013, 05:43 ]

Workers at's German warehouses continue a second day of walkouts over pay in the middle of the crucial Christmas holiday season.

BAD HERSFELD, GERMANY (DECEMBER 17, 2013) (REUTERS) -  Just eight days before Germans celebrate Christmas, workers in's German logistics centres entered into a second day of walkouts over pay on Tuesday (December 17), demanding labour contracts be affiliated with the retail industry and not the lower paid logistics branch.

Germany is Amazon's second-biggest market behind the United States and sales there grew almost 21 percent in 2012 to $8.7 billion, a third of its overseas total. Amazon took its most daily orders inGermany last Dec. 16, when almost 4 million articles were bought, with shipments peaking on Dec. 17.

Amazon, which employs 9,000 warehouse staff in Germany plus 14,000 seasonal workers at nine distribution centres, said on Monday (December 16) that 1,115 staff had joined the strike at three sites, but there had been no delays to deliveries.

The Verdi union said up to 700 workers joined the strike in Amazon's logistic centre in Bad Hersfeld, plus 500 to 600 in Leipzig. For the first time, the union also called a strike in Graben, where Verdi said 600 workers took part.

Verdi has organised several short stoppages this year to try to force Amazon to accept collective bargaining agreements in the mail order and retail industry as benchmarks for workers' pay at Amazon's German distribution centres.

"Amazon is still unwilling to enter into negotiations with us, the Verdi union," said union representative Mechtild Middek outside the Bad Hersfeld logistics centre. "We have made it clear that Christmas is imminent and we are ready to continue our strike!"

Amazon's German country head Ralf Kleber told Reuters in an interview last month that the company would not bow to pressure from striking workers and was more worried about bad weather hurting Christmas deliveries.

Kleber said Amazon pays warehouse workers well according to the standards of the logistics industry, starting at 9.55 euros ($13.11) an hour, and does not think the more generous terms of the mail order and retail sector are justified.