Germany: Amazon workers strike over low wages, right to collective bargaining; includes company comments

Author: Melissa Eddy, New York Times (USA), Published on: 23 September 2014

"Amazon Workers Walk Off the Job in Germany Over Wage Dispute", 22 Sep 2014

Amazon employees in Germany, frustrated by the company’s refusal to hold wage talks, walked off their jobs Monday in a coordinated strike at four of the company’s distribution centers...Amazon said the number of employees taking part in the strike during the first shift was not significant enough to prevent the company from making its deliveries on time.‘‘Less than 600 employees of the early shift have followed the call to strike action,’’ Anette Nachbar, a spokeswoman for Amazon in Germany, said in an email. ‘‘Therefore the strike will not impede on the compliance with Amazon’s delivery promise.’’...At the heart of the issue is an attempt by Ver.di to force Amazon to recognize itself as a retailer, which would make it beholden to labor laws that require wages be set through collective bargaining.But Amazon insists that its warehouses are logistics centers, ‘‘not shops frequented by customers.’’...‘‘The workers are demanding their right to a collective bargaining agreement and fair labor conditions,’’ said Stefanie Nutzenberger, a Ver.di member who is responsible for retail...The union said that Amazon had agreed to increase wages by 2.1 percent to 3 percent in its Graben location, which it attributed to pressure from the strikes...

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