Workers of Amazon warehouses and units across Germany went on a three-day strike from Monday, June 21, demanding better pay and work conditions. Workers of the Amazon centers in Werne, Leipzig, Rheinberg, Bad Hersfeld, Koblenz and Graben joined the three-day strike called by the United Services Trade Union (Ver.di). The strike began on this year’s Amazon ‘prime day’ of sales promotion. The protesting workers are also calling for binding collective bargaining agreements for retail and mail order workers.
The fresh round of protest by the workers, the third in the last six months, was triggered by Amazon’s recent salary announcement. Unions have criticized the company for a unilateral decision without acknowledging the workers’ demands. Ver.di slammed Amazon’s announcement of an increase in starting salaries to 12 euros (14.32 USD) per hour as “cynical and far from recognition and respect for employees by the company.” The union has called for a wage increase of 4.5% plus 45 euros over a period of twelve months, and the raising of starting wage to at least 12.50 euros (14.92 USD) per hour. Perspektive Online reported that Amazon does not want to introduce this hourly wage until autumn 2022.
For the past many years, workers of Amazon warehouses and units in Germany have been struggling against the management, demanding decent wages, recognition of collective agreements and better work conditions. In the last week of March this year, Amazon workers across Germany went on a four-day strike demanding an increase in wages and recognition of collective agreements for the retail sector. Germany is said to be Amazon’s largest market after the United States.
Orhan Akman from Ver.di said that “Amazon spends millions on advertising and makes billions in sales on the days of the campaign. The employees in the shipping centers have to cope with the influx of customers and don’t get a cent for the increased workload. The profits flow solely into the pockets of the group and its shareholders.”
Workers in the logistics sector, especially of international giants like Amazon, have been up in arms demanding better pay, work contracts, job security, safety, and the right to unionize. Recently, Amazon workers organized major strikes and mobilizations in countries like Germany, US and Italy to improve their work conditions.