Trade Union Ver.di Calls Amazon Strike At Seven German Distribution Centres
Trade union Ver.di has called on Amazon workers to strike at seven distribution centres over the online giant's reported refusal to enter into collective bargaining talks.
The strike action, which commenced on Sunday and runs until today (3 May), affects the Leipzig (Saxony), Rheinberg and Werne (North Rhine-Westphalia), Koblenz (Rhineland-Palatinate) and Graben (Bavaria) facilities, as well as two locations in Bad Hersfeld (Hesse).
The union is calling for salary increases of 4.5% plus €45 over a period of 12 months, in line with collective bargaining agreements in various federal states. It also added that 'no hourly wage must be less than €12.50'.
On suggestions that Amazon is already paying salaries above standard wage levels, Orhan Akman, who is responsible for retail and e-commerce at Ver.di, said, “This is a sham. Neither one-off payments, coronavirus or strike break bonuses, nor the issue of individual shares, are a substitute for living wages."
He described Amazon as being "not just any player in the market", rather he describes the firm as a "monopoly capitalist" that ultimately determines the conditions for its workers.
'The financial power of the group is not only a threat to many other companies, but now also to democracy,' the union added.
In response, Amazon has rejected the union's criticism and demands, with a statement saying that the company 'already offers what you are asking for: excellent wages, excellent additional benefits and excellent career opportunities - and all of this in a safe, modern work environment'.
It added that it does not expect Amazon customers to feel any impact from the work stoppages.