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Union calls for German Amazon workers to strike again

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Labor union Verdi has called on workers at online retailer Amazon.com in Germany to go on strike for two days as it continues efforts to negotiate a new pay deal.

"Amazon's refusal to speak about a wage agreement shows a lack of respect and that it doesn't value the performance of its employees," Verdi executive Stefanie Nutzenberger said in a statement on Thursday.

Staff at a distribution center in Bad Hersfeld have been called on to strike from the start of the night shift later on Thursday. Workers in Leipzig are asked to stop work at the start of Friday's early shift, the union said.

Verdi wants Amazon to raise pay for workers at its distribution centers in accordance with collective bargaining agreements across the mail order and retail industry in Germany and has organized several stoppages over the past year. The most recent stoppage was in April.

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.

Verdi said that it recognized getting Amazon to implement a wage agreement would be a long process and that as a first step Amazon should increase wages. It said retail and mail order workers had a pay rise of 5.1 percent in two stages last year, while Amazon employees received an average raise of 2 percent.

The U.S. company 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.

(Reporting by Victoria Bryan; editing by Keiron Henderson)

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