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Amazon workers in Germany strike over pay, say 'No more discount on our incomes'

An Amazon sign is seen at an Amazon logistics centre in Werne, Germany. Photograph:( Reuters )

Reuters Berlin, Germany Jul 15, 2019, 04.50 PM (IST)

More than 2,000 workers at seven Amazon sites across Germany have gone on strike over pay for at least two days, labour union Verdi said on Monday.

The walkouts, under the motto 'No more discount on our incomes", started overnight and coincide with Amazon's Prime Day when the US online retail giant offers its 'Prime' customers discount deals. Germany is its second-biggest market after the United States.

Amazon has faced a long-running battle with unions in Germany over better pay and conditions for logistics workers, who have staged frequent strikes since 2013.

"While Amazon fuels bargain hunting on Prime Day with hefty discounts, employees are being deprived of a living wage," Verdi retail specialist Orhan Akman said in a statement.

Verdi said the strikes had hit Amazon's sites in Werne, Rheinberg, Leipzig, Graben, Koblenz, as well as at Amazon's two sites in Bad Hersfeld.

Amazon did not provide exact numbers for how many employees were striking but said participation was limited and had no impact on customer deliveries.

"The company must finally recognise the collective wage agreements for the retail and mail order sectors," Akman said. "Wages and salaries at Amazon must no longer be determined in the style of a lord of the manor."

Verdi also demanded that collective bargaining agreements be made binding across Germany's retail sector.

"A universally binding collective agreement would then apply for Amazon too," said Akman.

An Amazon spokesman said the company was a fair and responsible employer even without having a collective agreement in place, adding: "In our fulfilment centres, our wages are at the upper end of what is paid in comparable jobs."

Amazon runs 12 warehouses - which it calls fulfilment centres - in Germany. Earlier on Sunday, Amazon said it plans to open a new warehouse in Germany this year and create more than 2,800 jobs with permanent contracts.

Story highlights

The walkouts, under the motto 'No more discount on our incomes", started overnight and coincide with Amazon's Prime Day when the US online retail giant offers its 'Prime' customers discount deals. Germany is its second-biggest market after the United States.