Union calls strike for Amazon workers in Germany

The German service trade union Verdi has called on employees of the mail order company Amazon at six locations across Germany to go on strike for four days before Easter, beginning at the start of Sunday’s night shift.

The sites affected are Werne and Rheinberg, which are both in North Rhine-Westphalia, the eastern city of Leipzig in Saxony, Koblenz in Rhineland-Palatinate and two sites in Bad Hersfeld in Hesse.

Due to the closure of large parts of the bricks-and-mortar retail trade during the coronavirus crisis, order volumes at Amazon have gone through the roof, said Orhan Akman, who is responsible for the retail and mail order trade at Verdi.

“Our members have had to pay the price. Due to the permanent work rush and performance checks, it is often hardly possible to observe distances and other measures against infection,” Akman said.

Amazon has so far refused to conclude a binding collective agreement to protect workers.

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On Sunday evening, Amazon rejected the claim that anti-coronavirus measures could often not be adhered to. It had made significant adjustments to more than 150 processes in its logistics network, the company said in a statement.

“These include increased cleaning and disinfection intervals, temperature measurement when entering buildings, mandatory masks, 2-metre distance rules and staggered shift and break times,” the statement said.

The mail order company does not expect the strike to have any impact. It is looking forward to it calmly, Amazon said, referring to previous actions.

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