Hundreds of Amazon workers in Germany on Friday, November 28, 2019, walked off the job as the US online retailer kicked off its ‘Black Friday’ sales bonanza, escalating a long-simmering battle for better pay and working conditions.
The strike, called by the powerful Verdi union is set to last until Tuesday, December 3, 2019, and will also cover ‘Cyber Monday’, another extravaganza of online discounts in what is a crucial sales period for Amazon.
Union representative Orhan Akman stated that Amazon staff want to send a signal that their work can’t be bought with the kind of extreme discounts which the company offers around this time of the year.
Akman accused the company of putting extreme pressure on staff that’s causing some to fall ill.
In its response, Amazon, played down the strike’s impact, in an email, stating that customers’ packages will arrive on time, as the bulk of employees is dealing completely normally with customers’ orders today.
It said that it offers ‘pay at the upper end of comparable jobs and other benefits.’
Prior to this time, Amazon has long resisted the union’s call for labour negotiations, defending its work environment and insisting that it is one of the best employers in the logistics industry.
“We pay at the upper end of what is usual for comparable work, we offer additional benefits and review wages annually,” the company said.
Amazon has been hit by repeated strikes in Germany and other countries in recent years.
Last year’s “Black Friday” event saw stoppages by workers in Spain, Germany, and Britain.