Amazon employees infected and underpaid?
Because of hundreds of infected people at several Amazon locations, Verdi assumes lax handling of hygiene regulations and complains of uncertainty at all 15 logistics centers in Germany. Amazon denies this. There is even a minimum distance of two meters, they say.
A leaflet has been circulating since 0.15 on Monday, in which Amazon boss Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world, spanked his butt with a rod. The Verdi union has called for a strike up until Christmas Eve – in the past, with moderate success, because customers mostly received their parcels on time.
Additional staff on call and special payments to strike objectors, made it possible. Once again, the company promises that the actions will have no effect, most of the employees are working. Amazon, based in Seattle (USA), does not want to negotiate with Verdi and prefers to maintain a direct line to its people via works, councils and employee forums. It’s a battle of attrition.
Amazon leans towards lower wages for Amazon employees, in the logistics industry, yet refers to their wages and work as “excellent wages, excellent additional benefits and excellent career opportunities” – and to being a good employer, even without a collective agreement.
For example through bonuses and employee shares, contributions to old-age provision, free life and occupational disability insurance, employee discounts, subsidies for canteen meals, the “Career Choice” training program. Evidence is that after five years, a good half of the 16,000 employees in Germany, were still working for the online retailer.
This Amazon employees strike could hurt, because the volume is even higher than it was before Christmas, due to the Corona-related shutdown of retail. It is also more difficult to recruit temporary replacements in the pandemic. Amazon still has around 1,500 permanent employees in Leipzig. Another 1,000 seasonal workers are added in the Christmas business, including students and migrants.
Every year again, just in time for the end of Christmas in online retail, hundreds of Amazon employees in Leipzig and elsewhere, are going out of work – now in their eighth year. They have been fighting for just as long, to take over the collective agreement for retail and mail order. And for just as long, the online giant of the Verdi union, has refused to talk about such better pay.
The number of Amazon employees in the German mail order business, has almost tripled since 2008 to over 160,000 – mostly on a temporary basis and every third person with a low wage, i.e. a third below the average wage in the economy, as a whole. The monthly gross earnings of full-time Amazon employees averaged 2,663 Euros in 2019, which is 738 Euros less than the average for all industries.