Members of German trade union Ver.di at five Amazon distribution centres (DCs) have decided to go on an all-day strike on Black Friday (24 November 2023), the union has said in a statement.

Employees in Koblenz, Leipzig, Rheinberg, Dortmund and Bad Hersfeld will cease working at the start of the night shift on Thursday 23 November.

The strike is being launched in response to Amazon’s refusal to recognise industry-wide pay agreements.

The union is also demanding a collective agreement for good working practices, as employees, especially in fulfilment centres, allegedly report pressure to perform and work intensification and surveillance in the workplace.

Ver.di has been battling with the online retailer on this issue since 2013, when workers first went on strike in Bad Hersfeld, Leipzig and Graben.

Ver.di trade federal board member Silke Zimmer stated: “Due to pressure from employees, the online retailer has had to repeatedly increase salaries and wages in recent years. They have succeeded in continually involving new locations in the industrial dispute. The Ver.di activists achieved this with their courage, perseverance and determination.”

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By GlobalData

Amazon has defended its position, describing the pay, benefits and career opportunities it offers as “excellent.”

An Amazon spokesperson was quoted by Reuters as saying: “It’s not for nothing that half of our colleagues have been with us for over five years.”

The retailer said it will ensure that deliveries of orders will not be affected by the strike.

Workers at department store chain Macy’s in Washington state also plan to launch a three-day strike from Black Friday (25 November 2023) to demand better wages and working conditions.

Spanish union Confederation syndical de Comisiones Obreras has called on 20,000 warehouse and delivery workers at Amazon to stage a one-hour strike for two days, including Cyber Monday (27 November 2023) for the same demand.