Monday, May 27, 2013

Amazon and Strike Woes

The union guys are back into another strike episode....to make their point.

For those who aren't into the Amazon warehouse operation....one is in Leipzig (deep into old East Germany territory), and the other is in Bad Hersfeld....which is north of Frankfurt and more into old West Germany).

According to Reuters.....starting pay over in Leipzig is 9.30 Euro per hour, for a guy starting out.  In Bad Hersfeld?  It's 9.83 Euro per hour (starting pay).  It's a pay scale that is acceptable for a young guy....say eighteen to twenty-four.  Beyond that.....it's a fairly low sum for a guy starting out, and having taxes and health insurance taken out of that.

What Amazon will say in public is that they've surveyed the logistics world of Germany, and the local pay situation, and come to this comfortable state of mind of what pay ought to be.  There's absolutely no indication that they might be willing to slide it up a Euro or two, to make folks happy.  The other thing that the union is pushing....is a better deal on night shifts.

Here in May....Amazon can absorb a day or two of strikes and it doesn't hurt them that much.  In October or November?  It might be another story.  In another month, most employees start their vacation periods, and the company is likely counting on a quiet period for sixty days.

My humble belief is that Amazon will eventually come to the table....offer up some type of special deal for night-shift folks, and maybe some minor increase on the pay....nothing more than half-a-Euro.  They need this wrapped up before you get into the October period.

The other issue for Amazon is that they remember how it all fell into pieces when they tried to bring in temp help back in the Christmas season (Spanish workers), and they need things to work this year without any hassles.  More Spanish workers to come in?  I doubt it.  Course, there's lots of unemployed folks in Cyprus, and I could see Amazon having a HR guy there and recruiting.

Whoever the boss for Amazon's Germany operation is.....you have to feel sorry for the guy.  Every single day is a bit of aggravation, and you look around at other European managers who have a pretty stress-free situation.

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