Hundreds of Amazon employees in Germany are on strike during Prime Day, the annual discount days when it is extra busy. They demand a wage increase of 4.5 percent and better working conditions.
The Verdi union is the driving force behind this strike in 7 of Amazon’s 16 distribution centres in Germany. Since 2013, the German union has been protesting against the American online giant’s low wages and poor working conditions.
For as long, Verdi has been trying to enforce a collective bargaining agreement with Amazon, so far without success. This agreement between trade unions and employers’ organizations applies to all employees in that sector. This should ensure greater equality between the parties through collective bargaining.
Amazon makes billions from the extra orders during the promo days. But employees no longer get a cent, even though they have to work much harder.
“The profits from these promo days only go to Amazon and its shareholders. They earn billions with the extra orders, while the employees in the distribution centres do not receive a cent extra, but have to work much harder to get that large peak of orders processed on time.”, says retail specialist Orhan Akman of the Verdi union.
Amazon itself emphasizes in a response that it offers its employees excellent wages and other benefits. The American online store recently announced that it would pay a starting wage of 12 euros gross per hour in its German distribution centres from July. Next year that will be 12.50 euros gross per hour.