The strike announced by the union will coincide with Prime Membership Day. This is a time when Amazon offers discounts to its customers. During this event, there is usually a situation that leads to an unexpected increase in pressure on the distribution center of the e-commerce giant. That is why the Verdi trade union has planned to suspend work for three days.
Union official Orhan Ackerman said in a statement to Reuters that employees at the delivery center often struggle to cope with the influx of customers. In addition, they do not receive any bonus for the extra pressure. As a result, several other unions have also called for a strike.
These point out that work-related injuries increase during the annual sales period and that employees are overworked. Since 2013, Verdi has regularly called for strike action at Amazon. The union is demanding higher wages, as well as more affordable working conditions.
However, Amazon itself has stated that it offers very good pay. In addition, 90% of its employees work under normal conditions. With this in mind, the company has promised a minimum hourly wage of 12 euros for this month, which will be revised to 12.5 euros over the next 18 months.
In fact, it is not only in Germany that Amazon is attracting attention due to working conditions. In the United States, complaints about abnormal working conditions are also common. It is with this in mind that the company has been trying to ban the formation of trade unions for years.
Yet the pressure at work is so great that employees can only use bottles or mail bags to relieve themselves, so as not to waste time. Amazon has always denied this practice, but leaked emails have reportedly confirmed that the company is aware of this situation.
Amazon has long clashed with trade unions in Germany, which is its largest market after the US. However, they are only demanding better working conditions and higher pay.
Despite the challenges, the American group continues to maintain that it offers generous wages and benefits to its employees. It also points out that in previous strike calls regularly held by Verdi since 2013, more than 90 per cent of employees at its logistics centre did not complain about their jobs.
Designed to boost the group's summer sales, Prime Day operations allow Amazon to propagate its paid "Prime" service. It's an event that drives its customers to make far more online purchases than usual.
In recent years, Amazon has stepped up its efforts to prevent the creation of unions in the United States, as well as public relations activities. Its policy is to make employees believe they will get fewer benefits and less pay if they belong to a union.
In April of this year, most Amazon employees in Alabama voted against forming a union after such directives.