Amazon workers strike in Germany

May 14, 2013 at 3:32 PM

LEIPZIG, Germany, May 14 (UPI) -- Union leaders in Germany said about 700 Amazon warehouse workers walked off their jobs Tuesday in a protest focused on wages.

Amazon employs 2,000 workers at a warehouse in Leipzig, where 500 workers went on a one-day strike, while workers from two warehouses in Bad Hersfeld also participated, the Financial Times reported.

Altogether, Amazon runs eight warehouses in Germany and employs 9,000 workers, who work under "extreme pressure," said Verdi union representative Jorg Lauenroth-Mago.

The union is challenging the company to negotiate to reach a collective wage agreement with workers.

"Labor conditions should be negotiated between the union and the employer," Lauenroth-Mago said.

But Amazon said it had been negotiating with the union and talks had reached an impasse. "Over the past months we have had a series of informal talks with Verdi. Although we are prepared to continue these talks, we do not see any joint basis for negotiations at the moment," the company said.

The union is pushing for wages that acknowledge their role in a retail company. But Amazon said that makes "no sense."

"Amazon's warehouses are logistics companies, fulfilling customer orders," the company's office in Germany said.

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