Labour union threatens Amazon with Christmas strikes

Christmas shoppers in Germany might be getting their presents late, it seems, as one of the country’s labour unions has called on Amazon workers to strike.

Verdi, which represents retail workers across Germany, is expecting around 450 workers at Amazon’s fulfilment centre in Bad Hersfeld to walk. It has said it will continue to call for strikes until Christmas.

The union has been fighting the retail giant over the latter’s employment policies. Verdi believes that fulfilment centre workers should be classes not as logistics workers but as mail order and retail employees – something that would give them higher average wages.

Amazon has continually hit back that the workers are quintessentially logistics employees and that they are paid above the industry standards in Germany anyway. It’s unknown how much effect the strike will have on the company, as Verdi attempts to disrupt Amazon’s profitable holiday season.

The retail firm employs 10,000 workers across nine distribution centres in Germany, according to Reuters, and takes on a further 10,000 in the run up to Christmas.

Verdi says it plans to organise more strikes as long as Amazon refuses to meet its demands. Workers at a Leipzig warehouse have been called to strike as well.

Amazon said in a statement that its Christmas shipping would not be disrupted by the strikes, as it has its 28 European warehouses to fall back on.

It added that a vast majority of its staff had not walked off the job and are working hard to meet customer expectations.