Employees at Amazon's (Nasdaq: AMZN) German operations went on strike again on Monday, at the height of holiday orders, in a dispute over pay that has been brewing for months. Today's strike is especially poignant, considering that last year, Amazon took its most daily orders in Germany on today's date, Dec. 16, with shipments peaking on Dec. 17.
Participants in today's strikes have also enlisted support from organizers at the e-retailer's Seattle headquarters, where a rally is scheduled for 10 a.m. A delegation of German workers is expected to attend, helped by local union workers and members of the public.
The union for workers in Leipzig has organized several short strikes this year in an effort to force Amazon to accept a collective agreement on increased pay and improved employment conditions. These protests, involving hundreds of Amazon workers at two German fulfillment centers in Bad Hersfeld and Leipzig, have been the first strikes against the internet giant anywhere in the world. Today, for the first time, the union also called a strike in Graben, where it said it had a very good turnout.
Germany is Amazon's second-largest market behind the U.S. and sales there grew almost 21 percent in 2012 to $8.7 billion, a third of its overseas total.
Amazon, which employs 9,000 warehouse staff in Germany plus 14,000 seasonal workers at nine distribution centers, said only 640 workers had failed to turn up for the early shift today so there had been no delays to deliveries so far.
"Our customers can continue to rely on us for the prompt delivery of their Christmas presents," an Amazon spokeswoman said, reports CBS.
The union is promising another strike before the holidays, according to reports.
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