By Patrick Costello
Workers at Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) in Germany have gone on strike at four logistics centers in the country as part of a bid for higher pay and collective wage agreements with the online retailer.
Amazon employees went on strike beginning midnight on Monday at logistics centers in Bad Hersfeld, Werne, Rheinberg and Koblenz, the Verdi trade union said.
The strike is slated to continue through Tuesday in Bad Hersfeld and through Thursday at the Werne and Rheinberg centers. Verdi said strikes at additional Amazon sites in Germany could break out "at any time" during the week leading up to Easter.
"We want to push through a noticeable pay rise for retail and mail-order businesses in bargaining talks," Verdi trade union secretary Mechthild Middeke said, adding that any pay increases have to be commensurate with Amazon's demands for higher output from workers.
The union has been calling for years for Amazon to increase pay and abide by industrywide wage agreements in Germany, saying the online retailer pays less than Verdi's demands by not recognizing sector-wide agreements.
Verdi was unable on Monday to provide estimates for the number of striking workers, but a spokesman for Amazon Germany said the company saw limited participation in the strike, which it said had "zero operational impact" and no impact on customer deliveries.
"Amazon proves every day that you can be a fair and responsible employer without a collective agreement," the spokesman said, adding that wages at Amazon logistics centers are "at the upper end" of what is paid in comparable jobs.
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