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Four-day Easter strike: Verdi calls for strike at six Amazon sites in Germany

Four-day Easter strike : Union calls for strike at six Amazon sites in Germany

The German trade union Verdi is calling for a four-day Easter strike at six Amazon locations, including two in North Rhine-Westphalia. But the company is taking a relaxed approach despite the union call to action.

The service trade union Verdi has called on employees at six Amazon locations in Germany to go on strike for four days just ahead of Easter. It has called for the strike to begin at the start of the night shift on Sunday evening.

The sites affected are Werne, Rheinberg (both North Rhine-Westphalia), Leipzig (Saxony), Koblenz (Rhineland-Palatinate) and two sites in Bad Hersfeld, Hesse.

Due to the closure of large parts of the brick-and-mortar retail sector during the coronavirus crisis, Amazon's order volumes have gone through the roof, said Orhan Akman, who is responsible for the retail and mail-order sector at Verdi. "Our members have had to pay the price. Due to the permanent work rush and performance checks, it is often hardly possible to observe distances and other measures (for fighting) against infection,” said Akman. Amazon has so far refused to conclude a binding collective agreement to protect employees.

On Sunday evening, Amazon denied that measures to curb the coronavirus pandemic could often not be complied with. It had made significant adjustments to more than 150 processes in its logistics network, the company said in a statement. "These include increased cleaning and disinfection intervals, taking temperatures when entering the buildings, mandatory masks, 2-meter distance rules and staggered shift and break times."

The company does not expect the strike to have any impact. It is calmly awaiting it, Amazon announced, referring to previous actions.

Unions are also at odds with the online giant in the U.S.: This Monday is the deadline for a vote on employee representation at a logistics warehouse in the U.S. state of Alabama. This would be Amazon's first U.S. site with employee representation in the company's 26-year history.

(Orig. text: dpa, Translation: ck)