Industrial relations dispute mars Amazon Kindle HD announcement in Europe

Amazon workers in the German towns of Leipzig and Bad Hersfeld have gone on strike over pay and conditions on the same day the online retail and electronics giant unveiled its new Kindle Fire tablet.

Germany’s United Services Union, also known as Ver.di, claims that staff at the logistics facilities earn wages far below the rates earned by other workers in the retail and mail order trade.

In its statement, the union is asking for a holiday and Christmas bonus, along with improved pay for late-night shifts, inviting politicians to join its picket line.

“We want to show that [there is] a great dissatisfaction with the working conditions. I hope that the invited politicians to take the opportunity to talk with the strikers and our demand for improved conditions from Amazon,” says Ver.di departmental manager Jörg Lauenroth-Mago.

Amazon employs around 9000 people at its German facilities, with many employed through its Leipzig logistics centre.

While the company has not issued an official statement, a spokesperson pointed out to Reuters that its employee’s compensation package is already among the best in the German logistics industry.

News of the strike comes at an inopportune time for the tech giant, coming less than 48 hours after it announced its latest Kindle Fire HD tablets and the expansion of its app store to 200 countries, including Australia.

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