German union Verdi calls for strikes at Amazon on Black Friday

(Reuters) -German trade union Verdi has called on members to go on strike at five Amazon distribution centres across Germany on Black Friday, it said in a statement on Thursday.

Strong demand thanks to bargains on Black Friday mean the day is usually one of the most profitable for online retailers like Amazon.

“Amazon employees have decided to rename Black Friday ‘Make Amazon Pay Day'”, said Silke Zimmer, the member for retail on Verdi’s governing board.

Work will come to a standstill from Thursday’s night shift and throughout Friday, the union said, as part of a dispute that began in 2013 over Amazon’s refusal to recognise industry-wide pay agreements.

A spokesperson for Amazon said participation in the strike was low and the vast majority of colleagues were working as normal, meaning customers will receive punctual deliveries of orders.

The affected centres are in Koblenz, Leipzig, Rheinberg, Dortmund and Bad Hersfeld, Verdi said.

The U.S. company has repeatedly stated that pay, benefits and career opportunities at the company are “excellent.”

“It’s not for nothing that half of our colleagues have been with us for over five years,” the Amazon spokesperson said.

(Reporting by Matthias Inverardi; Writing by Louis van Boxel-Woolf, Emma-Victoria Farr; Editing by Miranda Murray and Daniel Wallis)