German labor union Verdi has called on workers in five Amazon fulfilment centres in Germany to participate in a 'wave of strikes' (Streikwelle) ahead of Christmas to force the company's hand.
The strikes / walk-outs would begin with the late shift on Sunday 15 December and end three days later, Verdi said.
The union, which has been battling Amazon for many years and just launched a strike last Monday, argues that holiday shopping orders are putting extra pressure on workers and posits that the American company is not responding to its complaints about poor working conditions and lower than industry-average wages.
In a statement, Verdi says Amazon "categorically refuses to recognise the rights of employees" and aims to continue 'dictating' working conditions. The union recognises that blocking Amazon orders from shipping ahead of the holiday season is inconvenient for consumers, but that the company has the power to put an end to the strikes if only it were willing to meet all of Verdi's demands.
Amazon argues that it regards warehouse staff as logistics workers (rather than 'retail employees', which is what Verdi wants) and says that they receive above-average pay for that sector.
Whether the call for strikes will prompt enough Amazon workers to walk off their jobs to actually disrupt distribution during the holiday season remains a question, but Verdi says consumers should expect delays. The union also asks consumers to sign an anti-Amazon petition on Change.org.
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