UNI backs striking Amazon workers in Germany
UNI is backing ver.di’s call for strike action across Amazon’s distribution centres in Germany, calling for improved conditions and pay.
"Amazon employees are fed up with having their fundamental rights denied them. They are demanding a collective agreement that will guarantee them a living wage and good working conditions. Amazon repeatedly claims that it respects its employees. However the real picture is very different. The company arbitrarily dictates working conditions, it burns out workers through unrelenting pressure to perform and supervision and it gains unfair competitive advantage against its competitors and its customers on the backs of its workers. The stress on employees is not going to let up, and that is why the recent pay rise announced by Amazon will not change anything. "It does not replace a collective agreement", said Stefanie Nutzenberger, of ver.di National Executive
The strike action which began on Monday has now spread to several Amazon distribution centres, so called ‘fulfilment centres in centres Bad Hersfeld (Hesse), Leipzig (Saxony), Rheinberg, Werne (both in North Rhine Westphalia), Graben (Bavaria), Pforzheim (Baden-Württemberg) as are the workers at the DVD rental and video-streaming service Amazon Prime Instant Video Germany GmbH based in Elmshorn (Schleswig-Holstein). For the first time there is strike action at the Pforzheim centre.
The European network of trade unions including UNI Europa has met with striking Amazon workers on the picket lines in Leipzig to show their solidarity.
The Head if UNI Commerce, Alke Boesigger said, “Amazon Workers are organising themselves into unions everywhere over unacceptable pressure and monitoring in their daily working life.
“The refusal of Amazon to enter into constructive relations in Germany is a direct attack on the German labour relations model based on social dialogue and collective bargaining.
“We will not allow import of bad practices such as bullying and harassment of workers into Europe.”
Amazon recently announced a pay rise of 2.5 per cent. However there remains a considerable pay differential with the negotiated rates in the retail and mail order sectors. In addition to improvements in pay, ver.di would like a negotiated settlement that covers, for example, working hours, holiday, bonuses and special payments.