Amazon Warehouse Workers in Germany hit within 48 hours this week, in protest of the conditions that led to COVID-19 infection among employees. The strikes began today at six depots and will continue until the end of Tuesday’s day.
The company has been criticized internationally for its decision not to divulge official COVID-19 infection levels among workers, but Verdi (Vereinte Dienstleistungsgewerkschaft or German unions) says they “at least know 30 to 40” workers in a factory in Bad Salzufle in central Germany infected with the virus.
Other striking factories include Koblenz, Leipzig, Rheinberg and Werne. Germany is Amazon’s largest non-US market, and it accounts for a large share of worker protests. Strikes were scheduled for Prime Days in both 2018 and 2019. But the COVID-19 pandemic is a new challenge for the online trading giant.
As in the case of recent criticism, the company refuted the assumption that its working conditions were unsafe and pointed to various initiatives related to COVID-19.
“Most of our partners are not involved, and we do not see any influence on customer orders. The fact that more than 8,000 of our more than 13,000 regular partners in Germany have been working with us for more than five years proves that we are a fair employer, ”a TechCrunch spokesman said. “Everything that a union requires already exists: salaries at the top level from those paid for similar work, career opportunities and safe working conditions.” The facts are that: by the end of June, we will invest about $ 4 billion worldwide in COVID initiatives to deliver products to customers and ensure employee safety. ”
Here in the States, the company was criticized by the media and politicians for their actions regarding COVID-19, including the dismissal of several workers who openly criticized its policies.