Amazon Hit with Lawsuit, Strikes in Germany

Given Amazon's experiences in Germany over the past week I'm sure someone there is thinking about that old adage: when it rains, it pours.

The WSJ reported this morning that workers at five of Amazon's nine warehouses based in Germany have gone on strike:

The dispute centers around a wage deal for Amazon's workers in Germany. The labor union wants Amazon to offer its workers in Germany a collective wage agreement in line with compensation in the German retail and logistics sector, rather than using its own pay policies. Verdi accused Amazon of paying employees several hundreds of euros less a month than they are entitled to earn, based on the current German retail wage agreement.

In Graben, Bavaria, Amazon has recently offered pay increases of between 2.1% and 3%, the labor union said.

How this will affect Amazon's warehouses outside of Germany, many of which support the same markets as the striking warehouses, is not clear.

The strikes were led by Verdi. Amazon has been fighting with this union, which has been working for years to unionize Amazon's warehouses and raise the workers' pay. Amazon has so far managed to resist  Verdi, but the retailer is not having nearly as much luck in their legal battles.

Showing that there is no love lost between German book industry trade groups and Amazon, Buch Report.de reported last week that Börsenverein is suing Amazon over a violation of Germany's fixed price book laws. According to my source, Börsenverein is suing over a single isolated incident of Amazon price-matching a new book to replace a used book which a marketplace seller was either unwilling or unable to sell. (Yes, it does sound that petty to me, too.)

As you might recall, Börsenverein is also the group that filed an anti-trust complaint against Amazon, alleging that Amazon had a monopoly on the German ebook market. That maneuver fell apart, but it's not clear whether this lawsuit will as well.

In any case, Amazon is proving to be as much of a lightning rod in Germany as they are in the US, and in Japan.

images by 5mal5Max Braun

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: He's here to chew bubble gum and fix broken websites, and he is all out of bubble gum. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills at the drop of a hat. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.

4 Comments

  1. Nickbango22 September, 2014

    May I add some context?

    Unions are incredibly powerful in Germany. For instance, they faced down German car manufacturers, strikes running for weeks.

    If they want to face down Amazon, they have the power to do it, they have already proved it.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder23 September, 2014

      Yep. I’m surprised that Amazon fought them off for as long as they did.

      Reply
  2. […] Amazon’s German Troubles Multiply (The Digital Reader) Widespread strikes and more litigation land on the e-tailer’s doorstep in Germany. […]

    Reply

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