German union calls four-day strike at Amazon sites ahead of Easter

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FILE PHOTO: A box from Amazon.com is pictured on the porch of a house in Golden

BERLIN (Reuters) – The trade union Verdi has called for workers at six Amazon sites in Germany to go on strike from Sunday evening for four days in the latest attempt to try to force the U.S. e-commerce group to recognise collective bargaining agreements.

Verdi said the strikes at Amazon’s sites in Rheinberg, Werne, Koblenz, Leipzig and at two locations in Bad Hersfeld signalled an “unofficial start” to wage talks for the retail and mail order industry, which are due to begin in the next few weeks.

“Amazon is making a mint in the coronavirus crisis. For this reason alone, wage evasion must be stopped there,” said Verdi representative Orhan Akman.

Verdi is demanding a pay increase of 4.5% for workers in the retail and mail order industry.

“This must also be possible at Amazon this year,” Akman said.

Amazon has faced a long-running battle with unions in Germany over better pay and conditions for logistics workers, who have frequently staged strikes since 2013.

Germany is Amazon’s biggest market after the United States.

Amazon says it offers excellent pay and benefits. It has said during past calls for strikes over 90% of employees in the logistic centres worked as normal.

(Reporting by Caroline Copley; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

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