May 14 - Workers at Amazon.com in Germany strike in an attempt to put pressure on the global internet retailer to improve pay and benefits. Hayley Platt reports.
It may be the world's biggest online retailer but in Germany Amazon's certainly not the biggest payer. And 500 workers at the internet retailer have downed tools because of it. The Verdi union wants its members to be paid under a collective wage agreement. (SOUNDBITE) (German) "VERDI" UNION REPRESENTATIVE, HEINER REIMANN, SAYING: "Here in Hesse, there is a wage agreement for the mail-order sector which provides for salaries which are quite a bit higher (smiles) than what Amazon is prepared to pay. People here want to be a part of that agreement, like other mail-order companies in Germany." Amazon employs around 9,000 people in Germany, its second biggest market. Many complain salaries even vary within the retailer's German operations. Distribution centre workers in Leipzig earn half a euro less per hour than those in Bad Hersfeld. (SOUNDBITE) (German) AMAZON WORKER ON STRIKE, MARKUS HERD, SAYING: "There are a lot of reasons: it's about the working conditions here which need to be improved. Also, the salaries don't correspond with what we are entitled to. After all, we had a considerable impact on setting this up here and we receive very little in return." Amazon hasn't commented. But the union says the retailer isn't willing to negotiate. The all day walk-out is sure to disrupt services in Germany. And unless an agreement is reached, this latest strike is unlikely to be the last.