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German union giant Verdi targets Amazon with ‘Black Friday’ strikes

German union giant Verdi is stepping up its years-long fight with Amazon with a planned walk-out to coincide with the annual much-hyped Black Friday sales period.

German union giant Verdi is stepping up its years-long fight with Amazon with a planned walk-out to coincide with the annual much-hyped Black Friday sales period.

Strikes are planned at seven Amazon shipping centres in Germany, Verdi said.

At the start of the Wednesday/Thursday night shift, workers at centres in the cities of Leipzig and Koblenz, as well as other locations in the states of North Rhine Westphalia and Bavaria, began a three-day strike.

The goal of the industrial action is for Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, to recognize collective bargaining agreements for employees in its retail and shipping departments, as well as a collective agreement for “good and healthy work.”

Amazon is no stranger to such strikes in Germany and elsewhere and has stressed in the past that they have no impact on customers. Deliveries were still expected to arrive on time and a majority of employees would work as usual.

The teams are focusing “on getting parcels to customers,” an Amazon spokesman said of the latest strikes.

Verdi officials could not say how many workers were on strike at the affected centres. Those taking part in the walk-out are to stay at home rather than go to the picket lines, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The union is calling for pay negotiations with the company, which in turn argues that its wages are above the industry average, while also arguing that the jobs come with chances of promotion and general perks.

Amazon says it operates 15 logistical centres in Germany with around 16,000 employees on permanent contracts.

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