Amazon facing strikes over pay in Germany

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Online retailer Amazon may be facing strike action in Germany in the run-up to Christmas.

The secretary of the German services union Verdi has told Der Spiegel magazine that Amazon "shouldn't rely on being able to keep all their promises to customers before Christmas" and that the union would call strikes when it would hurt the company most.

Germany has had strikes by Amazon employees this year over wages. In June and September several hundred workers at the US company's distribution centres in Leipzig, Saxony and Bad Hersfeld in the Hesse region walked out. Verdi has around 2.2 million members and has said it wants to force Amazon to negotiate a collective wage agreement that complies with standards in the German retail sector. Amazon claims that the wages it pays are above average in the logistics industry. "Job descriptions for staff are typical of the logistics industry such as the storage, packaging and dispatch of goods," a spokeswoman for Amazon Germany told Reuters. The spokeswoman added that the strikes in June and September had not affected customers.

There is so far no detail on whether the strikes are planned again for the centres in Leipzig or Bad Hersfeld, or any other of the eight distribution centres in Germany.Amazon employs more than 9,000 in Germany but is reportedly considering opening five new centres in Poland and the Czech Republic.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Philip Oltermann, for The Guardian on Sunday 6th October 2013 17.38 Europe/London

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