The social struggle at the German branch of Amazon is escalating. The world’s largest internet warehouse has fired 600 employees of its Berlin-based distribution centre, just 2 days before Christmas.
“German Wild West”
Amazon Germany announced it would let go of 600 people in its Brieselang distribution centre, who all had to leave the building immediately - much to the anger of the labour unions. "Amazon is showing its true face once again. After its employees were under tremendous pressure to get through all the orders for the immensely busy Christmas period, Amazon has told its employees to leave, two days before Christmas”, Ver.di said.
"The American internet company refused to give a wage increase and now it is attempting to install a Wild West atmosphere in Germany.”
Strikes elsewhere in Germany
It is not the first sign of issues at Amazon Germany, as labour unions have been fighting for months to get better working conditions, but the board is unwilling to budge. Some 650 employees went on strike on Monday, in the Bad Hersfeld and Leipzig distribution centres.
Amazon Germany has 9,000 FTE’s and 14,000 temporary employees and it is the second most important Amazon branch, behind the United States. It generates a yearly turnover of 8.7 billion dollars (some 6.35 billion euro), with nearly 21 % growth year-on-year.
The American giant is clearly playing hardball, with the announcement of large investments in Poland, worth several million euro. The move, announced several months ago, was officially to support Eastern European growth, but analysts and labour unions feel it is a ploy to pressurize German labour unions.
(Translated by Gary Peeters)