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back to article Striking Amazonians warn: Don't rely on us for Christmas pressies

Amazon workers in Germany are preparing to go on strike once again, in the middle of the busy holiday period, backed by a delegation demonstrating outside Amazon HQ in Seattle. The Verdi trade union has said that workers would be striking in Amazon's warehouses in Bad Hersfeld, Leipzig and for the first time in Graben, while a …

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Fair play to them.

I probably wouldn't strike - I'd leave and do something else - but I can't say I blame the workers for wanting a better deal. Amazon, you reap what you sow.

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Re: Fair play to them.

Amazon Logistics pays well above the rates that VerDi negotiated for the logistics business and well above the 8.5€ thrown around as minimum hourly salery.

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Go

Re: Fair play to them.

Yes, bt they pay below the rates that are standard for Warehouse staff.

So it comes down to your definition are the Amazon workers logistics staff or wrehouse staff? Personally as someone with absolutely no connection to either industry I dont have a clue what the difference is, and I cant really imagine why there's a difference, but hell if I worked in a warehouse I would probably want the higher wages of being a warehouse worker as well!

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Re: Fair play to them.

As stated, the right thing to do is to negotiate better wages for the logistics workers. But Hermes (Amazons german competitor Otto's "outsourced" logistics), DHL, DPD, ... might not be happy with it. And might make Verdi feel that. So Verdi does the cheap cop out and tries to blackmail Amazon.

If everybody is lucky Amazon just shrugs and ignored the Chiwawa. If the workers have bad luck Amazon will handle Christmas 2014 logistics from Poland

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Re: Fair play to them.

And a friendly hello from an old IG Chemie member to our friends of the german toy-union Verdi. Seems your agitprop-squad has found it's way to ElReg now. How does Red Frankie like his stay in Seattle to protest "in front of Amazon headquarters"?

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Re: Fair play to them.

mmeier, it's not that "agents of the union" have found their way onto El Reg, it's that you're a douche.

Maybe you'd attract a few less downvotes if you weren't always out to screw the average guy.

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Anonymous Coward

So that's why they're moving to Poland

All the local politicos getting wet about Amazon setting up three warehouses here in little ol' Poland to move their German operation, but now we see that the Germans simply want too much money. Wonder how much less the staff in Poland will be paid...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So that's why they're moving to Poland

To be honest they can probably pay them comparatively more in local terms and still make a saving. Poland wins!

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Re: So that's why they're moving to Poland

Guess we won't be seeing Amazon Fresh in Germany any time soon then.

(Except, maybe, in the areas near the Polish border.)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So that's why they're moving to Poland

Poland wins, oh sure. Amazon will pay their due taxes in Poland as it always does elsewhere. Not.

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Thumb Down

Re: So that's why they're moving to Poland

Please explain where Amazon is in the dock about taxes.

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Re: So that's why they're moving to Poland

In the UK, Amazon is being investigated by the Inland Revenue about how it employs >2000 people but makes no sales, has no income and pays no tax.

Amazon.co.uk's operations in mighty Luxembourg make £10Bn in sales.

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Re: So that's why they're moving to Poland

That’s problem is a making of the EC governments, any company can pay their taxes any where they like in the EC, as long as they are registered there and have a address there – don’t know why a lot more companies don’t do that.

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Tip of the iceberg

Based on recent experience - I have to accept a lot of packages for others in my block - I think all this ordering of the internet is approaching a delivery cliff: the delivery companies are having more and more trouble actually delivering all the packages on any one day. As this is all terribly inefficient (travelling salesman) the prize will go to the company that comes up with the most efficient solution to the problem.

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Paris Hilton

Re: Tip of the iceberg

I thought the delivery companies were in the business of doing exactly that?

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Re: Tip of the iceberg

the prize will go to the company that comes up with the most efficient solution to the problem.

In France most mail-order/internet companies offer cheaper shipping charges if you have your parcel delivered to a local collection point, usually a newsagents or corner shop in a nearby village or town. It's easier and cheaper for the shipper to do one multi-parcel delivery to the shop, and for most people who are passing through the town it's no great hardship to call in to collect a parcel when they get the SMS to tell them it's waiting.

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Re: Tip of the iceberg

I thought the delivery companies were in the business of doing exactly that?

Sure, but there are very practical limits as too how many vans can deliver how much tat in how much time. People normally work until about 16:00 or 17:00. Last week I had one guy still trying to deliver stuff at 19:00. The German postal service increased its profits last year due to an increase in the price of stamps as letter deliveries scale better than parcels but basically they want to cut out the last mile, which is, of course, the main convenience of online shopping: tat gets delivered to your door.

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Re: Tip of the iceberg

Evening delivery should be normal, not a sign of problems! Most of us are out at work and then have to rearrange with couriers. Paying delivery workers a premium to work an evening shift might well be offset by reducing the waste time and administration in multiple failed deliveries every day. Somebody should try the experiment! 21st-century life is still plagued with 20th-century delivery services.

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Bah!

This is what happens when you spare the lash and the rod. I've seen it all before and it's not pretty.

There's only one route available to Amazon now: Decimation.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Bah! (Yes Ebenezer)

Dear Mr. Scrooge (Amazon),

Piss off and die you heartless twats. May multiple antibiotic resistant Staph and Syphillis invade your Sinus cavities just in time for the Holidays (Christmas)!

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Cultural Differences

The Germans have a far superior work and employment ethic to workers and companies in the US. There's a much, much greater expectation of a days fair pay for a fair days work. If they're striking it means a lot more than US workers striking.

For US workers to pitch a fit at Christmas is the fastest way possible to be forced out of a job. It's one thing to strike during slow times of the year, but critical time strikes like these impact lots of other people and the workers lose their support, not the employer. It will be the striking worker that gets blamed if Sally's Christmas present doesn't arrive on time.

There's an art to strikes and this is not how it is practiced. It comes across as petty and childish. They'd get support from other unionized workers if they weren't disrupting those workers Christmas. You start messing with emotional stuff like that and you lose. Every single time.

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Re: Cultural Differences

VerDi hopes for press coverage (sadly worked) and new members (didn't work). As for loosing support - VerDi is made up of ÖTV and postal union functionaries in the core. They are used to loosing support (and having to accept lousy deals in the end), just ask the garbage men

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Re: Cultural Differences

Too be fair, I don't think the issue is being reported quite how Ver.di (if you're going to ape the logotype) would like it to be: the focus is as much on working conditions as money.

Of course, the hairsplitting over whether they are "logistics" or "mail order" workers is a typically German obsession. I can't remember whether the "Entsendegesetz" (which forces German companies to pay German rates to foreign employees working in Germany and which does notoriously not apply in the meat processing industry) applies here.

Overall I'm not sure it really matters: Amazon's is up against very fierce competition against an already extremely efficient logistics sector that has already forced WalMart out. Aldi and co. are just as good at screwing their suppliers and employees as the next and have the added advantage of incumbency and having the right friends in the right places.

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Re: Cultural Differences

The Entsendegesetz is not important here since Amazon Logistics pays all people employed by it the same wage anyway. The "Leiharbeiter-Scandal" (rented/hired workers scandal) that you might refer to had more to do with the security company and our "neutral and reliable" ARD reporters (assuming you are politically left-wing) and our competent Minister von der Leyen (who's reality distortion field could put a fundamentalist tree huger or southern creationist to shame) way of reporting on it

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Holmes

Whatever happened to "Sod that, Imma changing muh job"?

No changing jobs anymore? Oh well.

"The union wants Amazon to use the collective bargaining agreements in the mail order and retail industry in the country as the basis for how it pays its workers. But the mega etailer insists that its employees are from the logistics sector and are paid above-average wages for that industry."

I can't comment about the "above-average wages" but for me they are definitely in the logistics sector. If they were retail or mail order one would see them or speak to them. No such thing occurs.

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Re: Whatever happened to "Sod that, Imma changing muh job"?

Amazon Logistics, the sub-company under attack by Verdi, pays well above the collective bargaining agreement for the logistics sector. That one isn't all that great to start with but blame that on Verdi

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Just to put the "VerDi" press release that is, sadly, transcribed rather unreflected here:

The average number of protesters per location is below 10 percent of the workers. And that is IIRC not counting the part timers hired for Christmas. Sure, all VerDi members might be on strike. Problem for VerDi is - most workers at Amazon Logistics are not premium payers<<<members of that funny lil pseudo-union.

VerDi needs a "success" and his boss a few strokes for his ego so they go up against the "evil capitalist from the USA". Too bad that they attack Amazon LOGISTICS, a company that pays well above the labor contract for the logistics industry. A LOUSY contract but one haggled out by - VERDI.

So now VerDi tries to put Amazon Logistics into the "Versandhandel" and force AL to accept that contract payments. And Amazon says "Thanks but no thanks". Rightly since the majority of work AL does is "take stuff from storage, put in package, put package in truck" - simples form of logistics (with matching quality of education in many workers)

The RIGHT think for VerDi to do would be to improve the LOGISTIC Workers labor contract. Sadly THAT would put them in serious problems with some very big and powerful GERMAN companies and those might take a VERY close look at VerDi and it's "Tariffähigkeit" that is wether VerDi is actually a proper representation of the workers / the proper contract partner.

This is basically VerDi's equivalent to a "Banzai Charge". If they fail at least the current leadership will suffer a "sudden illness" - not that it would hurt Verdi to get rid of the old ÖTV and postal union parasites.

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It isn't just physical deliveries they are having problems with.

If you bought a Disney Christmas movie online with Amazon, you might have problems watching it...

http://torrentfreak.com/amazon-pulls-access-to-purchased-christmas-videos-during-christmas-131216/

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Speed test started

Ordered a number of things from Amazon for Christmas. Made sure it was "sold and delivered by Amazon" stuff.

The big A gave me delivery times within this week all falling in the "typical" range for the goods ordered.

By Friday evening I'll know for sure if Verdi failed to stop the good guys

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Re: Speed test started

Status: 6 Packages ordered (Prime and normal delivery)

2 have arrived (Prime/books)

2 are in the hands of DHL and will be here by Thursday at 14:00

2 are "in processing" but DHL already lists them as "we have been noticed"

At least from my PoV: AMAZON WINS!

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Re: Speed test started "AMAZON WINS!"

And real, living, breathing, thinking, feeling, hoping, dreaming, loving, caring, laughing, crying human beings everywhere lose.

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Re: Speed test started

With Christmas done:

All packages arrived well in time and as advertised. Same for the family members. Verdi's propaganda is taking more and more of a "Germany, April 1945" tone with lies, mis-use of fixed terms and all.

Looks like 2014 will be the "year Verdi dies" and makes room for multiple specific unions. Good!

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