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German workers at Amazon retailer resume strike action

Several hundred workers at German centers of online retailer Amazon have completed a third day of warning strikes over demands for pay hikes. Trade union officials said they wanted management to negotiate a better deal.

Several hundred workers at German centers of Internet retailer Amazon completed a third day of strikes in a month on Monday, calling for higher wages.

About 900 employees at Amazon's German logistics centers went on a third day of warning strikes on Monday in a protracted dispute over pay and benefits.

Service-sector union ver.di said some 600 workers joined the strike action at the Internet retailer's facility in Bad Hersfeld in the central state of Hesse, with another 300 in action in the eastern city of Leipzig. Union officials said Amazon should expect further action until a deal was reached.

"Management has to budge," ver.di's commercial sector representative in the state of Saxony, Jörg Lauenroth-Mago, said at the Leipzig demonstration. "There is great resolve among our members, we will see this through."

At the Bad Hersfeld logistics center, union official Heiner Reimann said the demonstrations could intensify.

"We want to escalate this and still have more in reserve," Reimann said. Amazon employs around 3,300 people at Bad Hersfeld and a further 1,200 full-time staff in Leipzig. The mail order giant said that as most staff were still at work, Monday's action "will in no way affect deliveries for our customers."

Germany a major market

Amazon employs about 9,000 people in Germany and has come under fire for refusing to implement a deal on job conditions similar to agreements reached at other mail order and retail firms in the country. The union has also been pressing for higher basic pay and bigger supplements for night shifts.

The company has so far rejected the demands, saying that it paid well by the standards of the logistics sector.

Ver.di said the strikes were beginning to have a deep impact on the retailer's delivery times.

"We realize that this third day of warning strikes may not yet bring management to the negotiating table," Lauenroth-Mago said in a statement. "But we are prepared to fight on, we have stamina."

Monday's industrial action followed work stoppages on May 14 and May 27. Prior to the current campaign, Amazon's German staff had never gone on strike. In 2012, Germany was Amazon's second largest market after the US, just ahead of the UK and Japan.

hg, msh/pfd (dpa, AFP, Reuters)