Mike Nudelman/Business Insider
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
Workers in Amazon’s third-largest market are failing to get the attention of their bosses despite holding a number of walkouts over the past few months. According to Reuters, hundreds of German Amazon employees went on strike Monday in an effort to raise their wages.
The Ver.di labor union has been disputing salaries since before Christmas, when Amazon finally put a temporary stop to the strike with a Christmas bonus. However, that did not end things for Ver.di and its workers.
Germany does not have a minimum wage, but it does dictate pay scales by industry.
According to The Daily Dot, Amazon is claiming that its warehouse staff falls under the category of logistics workers, meaning that their $13-an-hour pay was completely fair, if not above average. Ver.di says that the employees should be considered mail workers and be given a higher salary.
The disputes between Ver.di and Amazon run pretty deep, even as far as how many employees are on strike. Ver.di says that 500 of 1,200 workers in the Leipzig distribution center are on strike, while Amazon is sure that fewer than 340 are.
Amazon is not batting an eye at the walkouts, confident that they will not affect the company in the slightest. With 9,000 workers in nine distribution centers, plus 14,000 seasonal workers, the hundreds of workers with Ver.di are a small minority.
To make matters more complicated, some Amazon employees are staging anti-union demonstrations to show solidarity with their bosses.
Amazon has responded with the following statement:
Yesterday, the trade union ver.di organized a strike at our fulfillment center in Leipzig, one of our nine German centers. Less than 340 of our FC associates chose to not come to work. The majority of employees regularly worked and remained focused on delivering the best customer experience. Amazon did not see any impact on customer shipments.
Amazons fulfillment centers are logistics companies that fulfill customer orders. Our employees earn toward the upper end of the pay scale compared to other logistics companies. The entry wage for an Amazon employees in Germany is 9.55 euros an hour, plus bonus, insurance and pension pay. After one year employees earn more than ten euros, and after two years, employees get shares in the company. Therefore we see no benefit in a tariff agreement for customers or associates.
In all of our logistics centers, we have employee representation – either as works councils or as employee committees with whom we work closely together to make sure employees interests are considered.
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