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Amazon warehouse workers in Germany plan pre-Christmas strike

After months of stalled negotiations over salaries, workers at Amazon's German warehouses are threatening to walk out for the Christmas shopping season.

It would not be the first time German workers walked out on Amazon. Verdi, the Services and Trade Union, has organized short strikes in Leipzig, Saxony and Bad Hersfeld this year.

Workers represented by Verdi in Amazon's distribution centers have been trying to force Amazon to recognize collective bargaining agreements in the mail order and retail industry as wage benchmarks for workers in the distribution centers.

In an interview in German weekly paper Der Spiegel, Verdi rep Heiner Reimann described how the union is looking to hit the company where it hurts, in order to have their demands taken seriously.“"If I were Amazon,” he said, “I would not rely on being able to make all deliveries to customers on time before Christmas.”

In the same article, a spokeswoman from Amazon Germany stated that "[j]ob descriptions for staff are typical of the logistics industry such as the storage, packaging and dispatch of goods.”

Germany is the second largest market for Amazon (after the U.S.) with $8.7 billion in sales last year.

After months of labor disputes with workers in central Germany, Amazon has recently begun to look at possible sites for distribution centers in Poland and the Czech Republic, where salaries are lower on average and fewer members of the workforce are unionized. The Financial Times reports that the first of these centers could open in Poland as early as next year.

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Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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