Workers of several Amazon warehouses in Germany organized a four-day strike starting March 29, demanding an increase in wages and recognition of collective agreements for the retail sector. Around 2,000 workers in the Amazon warehouses in Rheinberg, Werne, Koblenz, Leipzig and two sites in Bad Hersfeld are participating in the strike, the call for which was given by United Services Union (Ver.di). The union also slammed Amazon for not ensuring COVID-19 safety regulations are followed in warehouses.
According to reports, workers went on strike seeking a recognition of collective agreements for the retail and mail order business and for healthy work conditions. This year’s industry-wide negotiations are likely to begin in the next few weeks. The union wants to ensure that the wage agreements to be negotiated this year are declared binding in all federal states.
Orhan Akman from Ver.di said, “Amazon continues to mint money during the COVID crisis. For this reason alone, wage evasion must be stopped there. Our colleagues in the retail and mail order business in the various federal states are calling for wage increases of 4.5%plus at least 45 euros over a period of 12 months.”
Akman also said that during the COVID-19 pandemic, Amazon workers were burdened with extra work without proper breaks or safety measures. Despite this, Amazon has so far refused to conclude an agreement to protect its employees.
Workers of the logistics sector, especially of international giants like Amazon, have been up in arms demanding better pay, contracts, job security, safety and right to unionize. Last week, three largest unions in Italy organized a 24-hour strike at all Amazon’s workplaces in the country demanding improvement in work conditions.