Amazon's German workers set to go on strike

FRANKFURT Mon Dec 16, 2013 4:05am GMT

Workers handle items for delivery at Amazon's new distribution center in Brieselang, near Berlin November 28, 2013. REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz

Workers handle items for delivery at Amazon's new distribution center in Brieselang, near Berlin November 28, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Tobias Schwarz

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FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Workers at Amazon.com's German operations were set to go on strike on Monday, in the middle of the crucial Christmas holiday season, in a dispute over pay that has been raging for months.

The Verdi union said workers would strike in Amazon's logistic centres in Bad Hersfeld and Leipzig and, for the first time, in Graben.

A delegation of German workers will also protest at Amazon's headquarters in Seattle, helped by U.S. workers unions.

On Tuesday, workers in Amazon's center in the German town of Werne will protest, Verdi said.

The German union has organised short strikes this year to try to force Amazon to accept collective bargaining agreements in the mail order and retail industry as benchmarks for workers' pay at Amazon's German distribution centres.

However, Amazon has maintained that it regards staff at its centres in the cities of Bad Hersfeld and Leipzig as logistics workers and that they receive above-average pay by the standards of that industry.

Amazon employs around 9,000 people in Germany and Verdi earlier this year had warned it was ready to call a strike during the busy days before Christmas, when it would hurt the online retail company the most.

(Reporting by Harro ten Wolde; Editing by Alison Williams)

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