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German union Verdi calls for 'Prime Day' strike by Amazon workers

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FILE PHOTO: A box from Amazon.com is pictured on the porch of a house in Golden
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BERLIN (Reuters) -German union Verdi has called on staff at seven Amazon distribution centres to strike over Sunday evening's night shift in a bid to force the retailer to accept the union's sectoral collective bargaining agreement.

Amazon said it anticipated no impact on operations.

"Our active colleagues, who have been fighting for years for a collective pay agreement with Amazon, deserve our respect for the courage they keep showing in this confrontation with the employer," said Verdi official Stefanie Nutzenberger.

The strike action is timed to coincide with Amazon's discount "Prime Day", when heavy sales volumes are expected.

The union - one of Germany's biggest - said that although Amazon had repeatedly increased wages over recent years, the impact of this on staff had been moderated by extended working hours and low to non-existent compensation for public holiday shifts.

"There are no extended working hours. That's nonsense," said an Amazon spokesperson, adding that the employees did not in any case work on public holidays.

"Our critics demand what we've already done: Last year we increased wages across the country to 12 euros gross upwards per hour and this autumn we're increasing them again to at least 12.50 euros," he added.

Verdi said it had called the strike at distribution centres in Augsburg, Leipzig, Koblenz, Rheinberg, Werne and two centres in Bad Hersfeld.

Its members employed by Amazon have been on strike many times before over pay and conditions.

(Reporting by Thomas Escritt; Editing by Hugh Lawson and David Evans)