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Amazon workers strike over pay in Germany

Workers at four of Amazon's distribution centers in Germany have walked out on a two-day strike over a long-running pay dispute with the e-commerce giant.

Employees at the company's Bad Hersfeld plant in Germany's Hesse state were the first to stop work, followed by workers at three other locations across the country, labor union Verdi said in a statement on Monday.

Amazon germany workers strike
Karl-Josef Hildenbrand | AFP | Getty Images

The strike is expected to last until Tuesday night and is the latest run-in between Amazon and its staff in the country. Verdi wants Amazon to categorize the workers in its distribution centers as retail – rather than logistics – staff, which would entitle them to higher wages. The union says its members get paid "several hundred euros" less than those in the retail space.

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"Amazon continues to reject the legally guaranteed rights of employees for a wage agreement," Verdi board member Stefanie Nutzenberger said in a statement. "The employees are not scaling back their pressure on the firm. They have staying power and are fighting to be respectfully treated for their work."

Amazon has 9,000 full-time employees across its nine distribution centers in Germany, the company's second biggest market. A company spokesperson told CNBC that 600 of them would be going on strike and the action would not affect its deliveries.

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The internet retailer also said it pays its staff 9.55 euros ($12.26) per hour, on the upper end of the pay scale in the logistics sector, and gives workers benefits including holiday pay and bonuses.

The Verdi union organized strikes around Christmas 2013 and in April this year over the same issue. At its warehouse in Graben, Germany, the company has offered a pay rise of between 2.1 percent and 3 percent.

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But Nutzenberger added: "We will… not accept that the company arbitrarily dictates salaries. Only a collective wage agreement guarantees workers salaries and working conditions that secure their livelihood."

- By CNBC's Arjun Kharpal