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Amazon workers in Germany strike again in protracted pay dispute

A worker handles items for delivery at Amazon's new distribution center in Brieselang, near Berlin November 28, 2013. REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz
A worker handles items for delivery at Amazon's new distribution center in Brieselang, near Berlin November 28, 2013. REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz

BERLIN (Reuters) - Hundreds of workers at online retailer Amazon in Germany went on strike on Monday, the first stoppage this year in a pay dispute that has dragged on for months.

A spokesman for the Verdi labor union had said that about 500 of around 1,200 workers at Amazon's distribution center in Leipzig were expected to strike.

An Amazon spokeswoman said fewer than 340 workers took part and deliveries had not been delayed.

Amazon employs a total of 9,000 warehouse staff at nine distribution centers in Germany - its second-biggest market behind the United States - plus 14,000 seasonal workers.

Three of Amazon's German logistic centers were hit by stoppages in the run-up to Christmas, though the company said that deliveries were not affected.

Verdi wants Amazon to raise pay for workers at its German distribution centers in accordance with collective bargaining agreements for the mail order and retail industry.

Amazon, however, has rejected the demand, arguing that it regards warehouse staff as logistics workers and says they receive above-average pay by the standards of that industry.

(Reporting by Matthias Inverardi; Writing by Emma Thomasson; Editing by Greg Mahlich and David Goodman)

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