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 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

About Nate Hoffelder (10074 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader:"I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

3 Comments on Amazon Hit with Lawsuit, Strikes in Germany

  1. 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.

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