German Amazon employees join first international Black Friday strike

German Amazon employees join first international Black Friday strike

German trade union ver.di has announced that employees at half of the country’s Amazon warehouses are striking on Black Friday for better conditions and pay. The collective action is part of a broader international strike against Jeff Bezos’ retail giant.

Germany's Amazon staff strike on Black Friday

Employees at 10 out of the 20 Amazon warehouses across Germany are striking on Black Friday, as part of a wider action calling for the day to be renamed “Make Amazon Pay Day”. Amazon strikes are also taking place in a further 30 countries, including the Netherlands, Japan, France and the United States, marking the first international Amazon strike day.

Representing the 30.000-plus Amazon employees working in Germany, ver.di is calling for better conditions, higher pay and the implementation of collective agreements used in other retail firms and firms that distribute orders by post.

Since 2014, ver.di has managed to win battles for more secure employment contracts and higher pay for Amazon workers in Germany, though these newer conditions are not set in stone, meaning Amazon employees remain insecure at the whim of their multi-billion-dollar employer. According to the union, the international company is already scrapping conditions that were implemented following workplace disputes won by ver.di; in the summer of 2020 the company removed hourly 2-euro bonuses that were brought in at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to Deutsche Welle, Amazon has claimed that the strikes will have little impact of Black Friday sales, saying that preparations for the day begin “months in advance”.

Black Friday falls the day after Thanksgiving Thursday. Retailers use the day, which was originally only marked in the United States but has spread across the world, to encourage people to buy large amounts of goods by offering them at discounted prices over a short period. Across the world, Black Friday typically falls around the time when workers receive their last paycheck before the holidays.

Verdi highlights Amazon staff surveillance 

In a statement on the ver.di website, the union also questioned Amazon’s use of staff surveillance tactics in Germany.

“Amazon uses apps, scanners and cameras to collect data about their staff which is stored permanently,” the union said. “Where employees are, whether they are talking to colleagues, if they are taking a break or exactly how much time they use to complete an individual task, Amazon collects this data from monitors that employees carry with them.”

Ver.di’s accusations that Amazon uses AI-based staff surveillance in Germany have their foundations in the Atlas of Digital Work, a report published in 2022 by the Hans Böckler Foundation and the German Trade Union Confederation.

Thumb image credit: Cineberg /

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan



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