Strikes at Amazon centres in Germany

Full-day stoppages at the distribution facilities over long-running wage dispute

Online retailer Amazon was hit by a strike at two of its logistics centres in Germany today in the latest round in a long-running wage dispute.

German services sector union Verdi spoke of “good” participation in the full-day stoppages at the distribution facilities in the eastern city of Leipzig and Bad Hersfeld, northeast of Frankfurt.

Amazon employs over 5,000 people in the two centres and operates nine facilities in Germany, employing 9,000. The company has been hit by work stoppages in recent months as Verdi pushes for Amazon to improve pay and conditions. The union said Amazon had refused an offer a month ago for pay talks.

The US retailer has refused to change working conditions, saying it classifies its facilities as logistic sites and pays its employees according to the lower, logistic tariff. It said its operations were not affected by the work stoppage.

Distribution centre
The pay dispute comes amid growing debate in Germany about working conditions at online retailers. This week an undercover reporter for RTL television presented a report on fashion retailer Zalando. She claimed she had walked 27km in an eight-hour shift in a distribution centre and that her boss said sitting was "frowned upon". Zalando admitted there were some problems in operations but said most employees were happy. It has launched legal action against the broadcaster.