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Will Amazon's German Worker Strike Spread?

Posted on 11.25.2013

This may not be a merry holiday for Jeff Bezos and Amazon stockholders, particularly if the strike of nearly 1,000 Amazon workers spreads to the United States. 

This is the second strike of Amazon by the services union Ver.di this year in Germany. Amazon apparently employees upward of 9,000 people at its nine logistics center. Germany is the second-largest market for Amazon after the U.S. According to the Wall Street Journal, the union wants the company to adopt industry-wide wage agreements for employees, rather than using its own pay scale. 

"The moment Amazon agrees to talks we'll be sitting at the table instead of standing in the door," said Ver.di representative Mechthild Middeke. "Employees need an appropriate and reliable wage determined by collective agreement rather than by the employer alone." Among the benefits a collective wage agreement would bring is a Christmas bonus or "13th-month salary," a traditional component of wage agreements in Germany.

Amazon, however, is apparently defending its pay policies, saying employees are some of the highest paid among those at logistics companies in Germany. Overall, the company just doesn't seem phased at all, indicating that "neither a strike nor heavy order volumes would cause a blip in customer service in the coming weeks," as the company can fall back on its broader logistics network in the E.U. 

The strike is causing some merchants however, particularly those in the U.S., to wonder whether the strike could extend globally and impact their product's delivery.

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