By Charlie Loran • 13 October 2020 • 15:39
AMAZON staff at seven warehouses n Germany are being encouraged to strike by German trade union Verdi, this comes as a blow to Amazon as “Prime Day” launches and the retailer prepares to shift millions of pounds worth of stock globally.
Verdi said the strikes form part of a long-running battle with Amazon in Germany over better pay and conditions for employees.
It said that a COVID-19 bonus introduced for workers in Germany in March had been scrapped in May, despite a surge in online orders.
Germany is Amazon’s biggest market after the United States.
In June Verdi said it staged a protest over safety after some staff at logistics centres tested positive for COVID-19.
It comes as union GMB launched a petition to take the retailer to Parliament over working conditions in the UK.
“No-one should be scared about leaving work in an ambulance. But that’s the reality hundreds of Amazon warehouse workers face each and every shift,” the union said.
The union claims that there have been more than 600 ambulance call-outs to Amazon warehouses over the past three years.
The petition is calling for billionaire boss Jeff Bezos – the richest man in the word – “to give workers basic rights”.
“GMB Union wants to work with Amazon to improve working conditions for our members. But so far, Amazon are refusing to recognise, or even meet with, the union,” a statement said.
An employee has claimed social distancing in the warehouse became impossible after orders started to surge online.
“You can be placed on either the role of a ‘Slammer’ or ‘Taper’ which results in you being at the end of a conveyor belt. Each belt has up to eight ‘packers’ sending boxes down,” he said.
“By this point, these items have already come into contact with various workers, greatly increasing their risk of contamination.
“There has already been a large number of people sick, yet management refuses to close it down.
“The company has become a living hell to work for.”
Prime Day, typically held in July to help increase summer sales, is now a kickoff to what will be an earlier Christmas shopping season.
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