Amazon Workers In German Strike On ‘Prime’ Day


German trade union Verdi urges workers to conduct two day strike over pay and conditions during Amazon ‘Prime Day’ sales event

Amazon’s busy ‘Prime Day’ sales event on 13 and 14 October has faced some disruption thanks to a German trade union.

The Verdi trade union called on Amazon workers in Germany to strike on Tuesday and Wednesday, as part of a long-running battle with Amazon over better pay and conditions, Reuters reported.

Verdi reportedly cited that a coronavirus bonus introduced for workers in Germany in March had been scrapped again in May.

Image credit: Amazon
Image credit: Amazon


Strike call

The fact that the trade union has targetted Amazon Prime Day, which is usually one of busiest days of the year for the company, has been noted.

The strike call is for warehouse workers in the German cities of Leipzig, Bad Hersfeld, Rheinberg, Werne, Graben and Koblenz.

But it is unclear how well observed this strike call has been, in what is Amazon’s biggest market (after the United States).

Verdi Trade Union Secretary Andre Scheer reportedly said he thinks thousands of staff will take part.

But an Amazon spokesman told Reuters that the majority of employees were continuing to work as normal despite the strike call. He said the company offered “excellent salaries”, with benefits and working conditions comparable with other important employers.

Amazon has been clashing with German trade unions since 2013.

Union resistance?

Amazon for its part has resisted unionisation of its workforce in the US, and instead has encouraged a policy where workers say their concerns with management.

In 2019 the firm even cancelled its plans to build a campus in Queens, New York, after opposition among local residents to the tax breaks as part of the deal, and Amazon’s refusal to deal with demands to allow its New York workers to unionise.

Last week Amazon said it would respect the rights of workers to join a trade union.

That came after Amazon last month landed itself in hot water over two job adverts for “intelligence analysts”, who would be response for reporting on activities “including labour organising threats against the company.”

Amazon said the adverts were badly worded and withdrew the adverts, but credence was added to the suspicion it was hiring people to spy on trade unions as the job listings cited previous experience desired for the role, which said “an officer in the intelligence community, the military, law enforcement, or a related global security role in the private sector.”