Verdi has been trying to enforce a collective agreement on Amazon for years. In the event of strike actions, employees are also caught right in front of the main entrance.
Amazon has to accept strikes in its company parking lots at least in some locations. The Federal Constitutional Court dismissed two actions by the mail order company, thereby confirming the judgments of the Federal Labor Court in 2018. Amazon did not violate its fundamental rights to property and entrepreneurial freedom of action as a result of the strikes, said the highest German court. It therefore did not even accept Amazon’s constitutional complaints as a decision.
The background is the permanent tariff conflict with Verdi. The union has been trying to get Amazon to recognize regional retail and mail order deals for more than seven years. The company believes that it is a responsible employer even without a collective agreement.
This was about strikes at the Pforzheim and Koblenz locations. There is a huge company car park in front of the main entrance, most of the employees also come by car.
Domestic rights vs. Right to strike
During the campaigns from 2014 to 2016, representatives of Verdi and strikers gathered right in front of the entrance. Amazon wanted to prevent this from happening in the future and appealed to its house right. Verdi could just as well approach the employees further away at the entrance to the parking lot.
The Federal Labor Court considered the strikes to be permissible. Given the local conditions, Verdi could only address the Amazon employees at both locations in the company car park, the Erfurt judge decided in November 2018. Amazon had to accept the “short-term, situational impairment”.
The constitutional judges have nothing to complain about (Az. 1 BvR 719/19 and others). The labor court has “understandably resolved the tension between property and freedom of action of the company as an employer and freedom of association for the union”. The fundamental rights of the union would “not be privileged unilaterally”. Verdi was also not to be criticized for not forming a strike alley. With 65 strikers in an almost 30,000 square meter parking lot, employees willing to work could easily park their car and get to their work.
Amazon reacted to the decision with a lack of understanding. “We have always been concerned with employee safety,” stressed the world’s largest mail order company. “It comes first. Today’s decision does not help to avoid unnecessary dangerous situations in the parking lot.” Amazon has 15 logistics centers in Germany with around 13,000 permanent employees.