Amazon employees in Germany strike just before Christmas

Amazon workers on strike in Leipzig in May. German employees of the e-commerce giant are striking again Monday for better wages.
(Hendrik Schmidt / Associated Press)
Share workers in Germany walked off the job Monday to demand better wages and treatment, just as the e-commerce giant heads into the thick of Christmas gift-ordering.

The Ver.di union said a round of walkouts in Leipzig, Bad Hersfeld and Graben was planned in tandem with picketing outside of Amazon’s headquarters in Washington state.

A delegation of German workers is expected to rally outside the Seattle facility along with a collection of American protesters.


The online retailer, which has some 9,000 full-time workers in Germany, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Ver.di said workers are seeking collective bargaining rights, healthy working conditions and respectful treatment.

UNI Global Union, an international trade union of which Ver.di is a member, voiced its support Monday for the strikes.

“They are not alone,” said UNI General Secretary Philip Jennings in a statement.

[Updated, Dec. 16, 10:55 a.m.: Ver.di said 1,800 workers were on strike and that walkouts will continue at two warehouses over the next few days.

Amazon spokeswoman Mary Osako said the vast majority of its German workers did not participate in the strikes. Osako said that 1,115 of its fulfillment center workers chose not to come in to work Monday, contradicting Ver.di’s tally.

She said that Amazon pays more in total compensation than comparable logistics positions elsewhere in Germany.]


Amazon has kept busy heading into the holiday season.

Last month, the Internet giant said it was partnering with the U.S. Postal Service to deliver packages on Sundays in the Los Angeles and New York metropolitan areas.

The company has been slowly expanding its AmazonFresh grocery delivery program, rolling it out to Los Angeles in June and into San Francisco last week.

Earlier in December, Amazon introduced a futuristic concept it called Prime Air, in which drones would deliver parcels to customers in half an hour or less.

The United Food and Commercial Workers union bashed the plan in a tweet, saying that the “dark side” to drone-based delivery was that the people currently performing the service might lose their jobs.


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