Workers at two Amazon.com Inc. distribution centers in Germany have walked off the job in an ongoing dispute over wages with the American online retailer.
The workers union said Thursday that a combined 600 workers stayed off the job at Amazon centers in Leipzig and Bad Hersfeld. The short-term strikes are to last for three days. The union is pushing Amazon to adopt wage agreements similar to those governing retail and mail-order workers.
Amazon says its distribution warehouses in Germany are logistics centers, and employees are already paid on the upper end of what workers in that industry earn. It has already agreed to pay Christmas bonuses but the union said it’s not enough.
Ver.di union represents some 2,000 workers in Leipzig and 3,300 employees at Amazon’s Bad Hersfeld center.
Separately, Staples and RadioShack have removed Amazon.com lockers from their stores after the partnership failed to meet expectations.
The retailers began testing a system last year in which Amazon shoppers could pick up their Web delivery at a store at no extra cost. This meant customers didn’t have to be home to receive a package, or risk a delivery being stolen because it had to be dropped off on a doorstep or in a lobby.
“That was a little bit odd, but what they were hoping for was that when customers would come in to pick up stuff from the locker, they would pick up additional items,” said Brian Yarbrough, a retail analyst with Edward Jones & Co. If they pulled the lockers, that means they probably “weren’t seeing the incremental sales out of the deal.”
Staples ended the test after it “didn’t meet the criteria we set up together,” said Demos Parneros, president of North American stores and online for Staples. RadioShack stopped the program because it didn’t fit its strategy, said spokeswoman Merianne Roth. Chief Executive Joe Magnacca, who took charge in February, is cutting items to reduce clutter in stores while improving displays to boost sales of major brands such as Apple.
Amazon didn’t respond to a request for comment.
With Amazon and other online retailers undercutting RadioShack on price and selection, sales at the electronics chain have declined in the past six quarters, leading to a net loss of more than $200 million. Amazon also has been taking sales from Staples as it sells more office and school products. Revenue at the world’s largest office-supplies chain has slid in seven of the past eight quarters. Staples sells Amazon’s Kindle line of tablets and e-readers.
The fact that these chains were willing to help the customers of a major competitor “tells you it’s difficult out there and they are willing to try a lot of different things to bring people in the door,” Yarbrough said.The Associated Press and Bloomberg News contributed to this report.