FRANKFURT, April 17 German labour union Verdi
has called on workers at online retailer Amazon in
Germany to go on strike on Thursday as a long-running pay
"Amazon is refusing talks about a wage agreement," Verdi
negotiator Joerg Lauenroth-Mago said in a statement, saying
workers at distribution centres in Leipzig and Bad Hersfeld were
to walk off the job starting with the morning shift.
Verdi wants Amazon to raise pay for workers at its
distribution centres in accordance with collective bargaining
agreements across the mail order and retail industry in Germany.
Amazon, however, has rejected the demand, arguing that it
regards warehouse staff as logistics workers and says they
receive above-average pay by the standards of that industry.
Online retail firms in Germany have struggled to shake off
an image of companies that relentlessly drive their workers
while paying them relatively little.
Zalando, Europe's biggest online fashion retailer, this week
issued a statement in defence of its logistics operations
following a critical report by a German undercover journalist.
Amazon employs a total of 9,000 warehouse staff at nine
distribution centres in Germany - its second-biggest market
behind the United States - plus 14,000 seasonal workers.
Late last month hundreds of workers walked out at its site
in the eastern German city of Leipzig, and several centres were
hit by work stoppages in the run-up to Christmas last year.
(Reporting by Maria Sheahan; Editing by Greg Mahlich)