Amazon workers in Germany plan two-day strike over COVID-19 infections

They believe there's a lack of transparency.

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LEIPZIG, GERMANY - DECEMBER 17: A poster with the word 'strike' stands outside the facility on the first day of a strike by Amazon workers on December 17, 2018 in Leipzig, Germany. Workers at two Amazon warehouses in Germany have gone on strike today in a long-standing dispute between the ver.di labor union and Amazon. For five years ver.di has demanded Amazon workers be paid according to wage models for the retail sector. Amazon classifies its warehouse workforce in Germany under logistics, which is a lower wage category. (Photo by Jens Schlueter/Getty Images)
Jens Schlueter/Getty Images

Amazon’s efforts to deal with COVID-19 at its warehouses haven’t been enough to sway at least some workers. The labor union Verdi has announced that staff at six sites in Germany will strike for a minimum of two days over a claimed lack of transparency regarding infections. There had been “at least 30 to 40” workers infected, Verdi representative Orhan Akman told Reuters, arguing that Amazon valued profits over safety.

We’ve asked Amazon for comment. In a statement to Reuters, it denied that it didn’t prioritize safety and pointed to $4 billion in safety measures for both employees and customers.

The striking workers might not be swayed by that argument. There have been ongoing complaints about Amazon’s allegedly opaque response, including a lack of exposure info and unclear instructions on what to do when people fall ill. Staff have also pointed out difficulties in getting both paid and unpaid leave that could help them avoid infecting colleagues. They want to know just how safe it really is, and strikes like this theoretically push Amazon to respond.

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