Amazon employees protest on some German, French sites on Black Friday

  • Actions part of global call by Make Amazon Pay initiative
  • Demonstration calls for better pay
  • Amazon says no disruption to operations

BERLIN/PARIS, Nov 25 (Reuters) – Some employees at Amazon (AMZN.O) branches in Germany and France took down tools on Black Friday as part of a global move to target the online retailer on one of its busiest shopping days. of the year with calls for better pay.

The Make Amazon Pay initiative, which called for strikes, said industrial action was planned in more than 30 countries, including the United States.

In Germany, there were demonstrations at nine of Amazon’s 20 warehouses in the country, although the company said on Friday morning that the vast majority of its employees in Germany were working normally.

The French unions SUD and CGT called for strike action in the country’s eight warehouses.

Amazon France said there were no signs of business disruption so far. Two French union officials said they did not expect a large turnout as the rising cost of living prompted workers to seek overtime.

The Verdi trade union, which called the strikes in Germany, demanded that the company recognize collective bargaining agreements for the retail and mail order sectors. It also called for a new collective agreement on worker welfare, with a Verdi spokesperson noting that warehouse workers can walk 15–20 km (9.3–12.4 mi) a day at work.

French trade unions called for a higher cash bonus for the period leading up to Christmas, which requires warehouse workers to work a lot of overtime.

“As an employer, Amazon offers a good salary, benefits and development opportunities – all in an attractive and safe working environment,” an Amazon spokesperson in Germany said in a statement.

Among other things, the spokesperson pointed to a wage increase for Amazon’s logistics employees in Germany from September, with the starting wage now at 13 euros ($13.52) per hour or more, including bonus payments.

The average wage after two years of work is more than EUR 35,000 gross per year, Amazon Germany said, adding that they include perks such as public transport subsidies and company pension plans.

Workers at a warehouse in the western city of Koblenz were seen outside holding a red and white banner reading “We are on strike” in German, French and English.

“With the small salary you earn, you can no longer live in this day and age,” said a worker and father of three.

Inflation in Germany is currently over 10% at its highest level in decades. A spokesman for Verdi in Koblenz called the recent wage increase “a drop in the ocean” of 3%.

An Amazon spokesperson in France said all warehouse workers earning less than €3,100 a month would receive a one-off bonus of €500, in addition to a €150 year-end bonus agreed with the unions.

The French union SUD asked for a Black Friday bonus of 1,000 euros, which is double the payment offered by Amazon, as well as a bonus of 150 euros per weekend worked in the fourth quarter.

SUD official Mathieu Ciserane said 60 people demonstrated this morning in front of the Bretigny-sur-Orge site near Paris, while another 50 stayed at home out of a total of 5,000 full-time and temporary workers at that site.

Amazon in the United States did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

($1 = 0.9615 euros)

Reporting by Rachel More and Mathieu Rosemain; additional reporting by Eva Mathews in Bengaluru, Petra wischgoll and Erol Dogrudogan; adaptation by Jason Neely, Mark Potter and Louise Heavens

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Principles of Trust.

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