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This article was published on May 27, 2013

Amazon employees stage second one-day strike in Germany over pay and working conditions

Amazon employees stage second one-day strike in Germany over pay and working conditions Image by: EMMANUEL DUNAND
Nick Summers
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Nick Summers

Nick Summers is a technology journalist for The Next Web. He writes on all sorts of topics, although he has a passion for gadgets, apps and Nick Summers is a technology journalist for The Next Web. He writes on all sorts of topics, although he has a passion for gadgets, apps and video games in particular. You can reach him on Twitter, circle him on Google+ and connect with him on LinkedIn.

Amazon employees working at a distribution center in Leipzig, Germany are staging a second strike today over their wages and benefits packages.

A representative for Ver.di, a multi-service trade union with 2.1 million members, told the Wall Street Journal that around 250 workers – or half of the morning shift – went on strike initially. More are thought to have joined throughout the day, however.

The workers are reportedly striking over Amazon’s current pay scale, which doesn’t adopt industry-wide wage agreements made between firms who are often part of various employers’ associations in Germany.

Roughly 900 workers from Amazon’s distribution centers in Leipzig and Bad Hersfeld, Hesse, carried out a similar demonstration on May 14. Other publications have suggested this number was as high as 1,100.

Employees march through Bad Hersfeld, western Germany, on May 14, 2013
Employees march through Bad Hersfeld, western Germany, on May 14, 2013

According to The Wall Street Journal, the union is demanding that staff wages rise to at least 10.66 euros per hour in Leipzig and 12.18 euros per hour in Hesse. Amazon is also being criticized for refusing to offer paid holiday or bonuses over the Christmas period. It’s also been suggested that higher hourly rates for night-time shifts currently kick in at midnight.

To push for the aforementioned wage increases, Ver.di has asked all of its members to put down their tools and stop all work in the Amazon distribution centers for the day.

“We want to show that Amazon is not some kind of idyllic world, but rather a place dominated by great dissatisfaction with working conditions,” Jörg Lauenrot-Mago, a representative for Ver.di said.

Amazon is yet to release an official statement on the matter, although the Wall Street Journal has cited a spokesperson saying:

“Our employees earn toward the upper end of the pay scale compared to other logistics companies. The entry wage for an Amazon employee is 9.30 euros [$12.02] an hour, plus bonus, after one year more than 10 euros, and after two years, employees get shares in the company.”

Amazon employs roughly 9,000 people in Germany across 11 different locations.

Image Credit: EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images / UWE ZUCCHI/AFP/Getty Images