Amazon.com Inc. workers in Germany went on strike today as the country’s largest services union attempts to push the Internet retailer to join collective bargaining agreements and pay higher wages.
About 1,500 Amazon employees, including staff at the main locations in Bad Hersfeld, Hesse, and Leipzig, Saxony, participated in the walkouts, the Ver.di union said on its website. The Seattle-based company hasn’t responded to the demands and the union is prepared to take further steps, Ver.di lead negotiator Joerg Lauenroth-Mago said by phone.
Amazon, which employs about 9,000 people in Europe’s biggest economy, drew scrutiny in Germany this year after a documentary aired on ARD television accusing it of exploiting migrant workers. Christine Hoeger, a spokeswoman for Amazon, didn’t immediately return a call and the company’s German press department didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment.
As part of the demands, Ver.di is asking Amazon to raise minimum pay to 10.66 euros ($13.84) an hour from 9.30 euros in Leipzig and to 12.18 euros from 9.83 euros in Bad Hersfeld, and to pay extra for night shifts starting before midnight.