Business

German union calls on Amazon workers to strike during sale

German trade union Verdi on Tuesday called on workers at nine Amazon distribution centres across Germany to go on strike this week, during the company’s second major sales event this year, to try to pressure it into collective bargaining agreements.

The union said the strikes would begin and end at different times at the various locations to make it hard for the company to react. “Strikes have to hurt, even for a giant like Amazon,” said Monika Di Silvestre, who is coordinating the stoppages.

Amazon’s two-day “Prime Early Access Sale” shopping event for members, which starts Tuesday, is much like the Prime Day summer marketing blitz and will compete with early discounts from rival retailers for customers grappling with inflation-squeezed Christmas budgets.

Amazon said that after a salary increase for all logistics employees in Germany from September 2022, its starting wage was 13 euros ($12.64) per hour, plus benefits.

Germany raised its minimum wage to 12 euros per hour from Oct. 1.

The company does not foresee any impact on customers due to the strikes, which it said were limited to only seven of its 20 fulfilment centres.

The union – one of Germany’s biggest – said that while the company had raised wages, the increases were below the current inflation rate and ranged from 3% to 7% across the different locations.

Verdi said it had called strikes at distribution centres in Dortmund, Graben, Koblenz, Leipzig, Rheinberg, Werne and Winsen (Luhe) and two centres in Bad Hersfeld.

($1 = 1.0286 euros)