German union extends strike at Amazon’s Leipzig warehouse until December 24

BERLIN, Germany (Reuters) – Amazon <AMZN.O> workers in the eastern German city of Leipzig will extend until Christmas Eve their strike over pay and conditions, trade union Verdi said on Friday.

Since 2013, unions have staged repeated strikes at Amazon’s facilities in Germany – Amazon’s second-largest market after the United States – hoping to force the e-commerce company to recognize collective bargaining agreements that apply to other retail employees.

Verdi said more than 400 Amazon workers in Leipzig had been on strike every day since Monday.

Verdi had said on Tuesday that around 1,200 workers were taking part in a strike that started during the Sunday to Monday night shift at warehouses in Bad Hersfeld, Koblenz and Leipzig. The strike was due to last until Dec. 21, the union said.

But it said on Friday that the strike in Leipzig would continue until Dec. 24. Spokespeople for the union in Bad Hersfeld and Koblenz could not be reached.

“Particularly during Advent, we want to show that employees don’t expect gifts but rather demand fair working conditions and collectively agreed wages,” strike leader Thomas Schneider said in a statement.

“It’s business as usual for Amazon today with our well-paid, dedicated and highly respected teams across Germany doing what they do every day – delivering for their customers,” a spokesman for Amazon said.

Amazon employs 20,000 people at 35 sites in Germany and adds thousands of temporary workers to help cover the Christmas rush.

(Reporting by Michelle Martin and Elke Ahlswede, editing by Larry King)