Amazon workers in Germany strike for pay, benefits

FRANKFURT Tue May 14, 2013 3:39pm IST

A box from Amazon.com is pictured on the porch of a house in Golden, Colorado July 23, 2008. REUTERS/Rick Wilking/Files

A box from Amazon.com is pictured on the porch of a house in Golden, Colorado July 23, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Rick Wilking/Files

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FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Several hundred warehouse workers at global internet retailer Amazon.com's (AMZN.O) German operations went on strike on Tuesday in a dispute over pay and benefits.

Amazon employs around 9,000 people in Germany and has come under fire from trade union Verdi for refusing to implement a collective agreement on employment conditions similar to deals at other mail order and retail firms.

The union is also pressing for higher basic pay and bigger supplements for night shifts.

Verdi said on Tuesday that about 600 workers at Amazon's logistics centre in Bad Hersfeld and around 300 in the eastern city of Leipzig had gone on strike.

A spokeswoman for Amazon's German operations said in an e-mailed statement that the company did not expect deliveries to customers to be affected.

The strike began at 6 a.m. local time (0400 GMT) and was due to last until the end of the late shift. Verdi said it was prepared to call for further strikes if Amazon did not agree to fresh negotiations.

In Leipzig, the union is calling for starting pay of 10.66 euros per hour, compared with 9.30 euros now. In Bad Hersfeld, they want pay of 9.83 euro to be increased to 12.18.

Amazon said its workers' earnings were already at the upper end of what logistics companies pay in Germany. It said that it was willing to continue talks with Verdi but did not see a common basis for negotiations for now.

(Reporting by Maria Sheahan and Peter Dinkloh in Frankfurt and Tom Kaeckenhoff in Duesseldorf; Editing by Tom Pfeiffer)

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