Amazon workers strike in Germany

Workers at Amazon distribution depots in Germany are striking in a dispute over pay and conditions - just in time for the final pre-Christmas rush.

Amazon workers strike in Germany
Photo: APA/EPA/Zucchi

Just after midnight on Monday, employees at the online giant's Bad Hersfeld flagship distribution centre walked off the job. Workers at five other centres followed suit.

"We are going to strike until we come to a fair agreement with Amazon for its employees," Verdi union spokesperson Thomas Schneider said. "Amazon isn't budging and therefore has to be pushed."

The strike is scheduled to go until the end of Wednesday's late shift, during what is usually the busiest time for Amazon.

Austria is considered part of Amazon’s German-speaking market. 77 percent of Austrians do their online shopping via German-based sites such as or Zalondo.

Company spokesperson Anette Nachbar promised customers "the packages will be delivered on time" despite the industrial action, citing Amazon's European-wide network with 28 logistics centres.

"Strikes are a scenario that we are prepared for," said Bad Hersfeld shop boss Robert Marhan.

Since May 2013, Verdi has been trying to bring Amazon to the table to negotiate on the employees' status as retail workers. The American-based company says it’s a logistics company and therefore doesn't have to.

Other centres suffering industrial action are Leipzig and Graben in Bavaria as well as Rheinberg and Werne in North Rhine-Westphalia.

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COMPARED: Which supermarket is best in Austria?

Not all supermarkets in Austria are the same and, depending on your needs, some will be better for you than others. Here’s a useful comparison to help you get started.

COMPARED: Which supermarket is best in Austria?

Like many other European countries, Austria is home to several different supermarket chains – all offering varying levels of affordable products, international foods and local produce.

But if you’re new to the country, or even just evaluating your spending habits, it can be hard to know which supermarket is best for you.

To help you get started, here’s an overview of the most common supermarkets in Austria and what they offer.

READ ALSO: Cost of living: Why glühwein costs more at Vienna Christmas markets this year


The Dutch-owned supermarket chain is the biggest in Austria with more than 1,500 shops across the country. 

Spar has a range of in-store brands, but the most notable are Spar Premium, S-Budget (for price-conscious shoppers) and Spar Free From for lactose and gluten-free products.

Interspar is the hypermarket version of Spar stores, followed by Eurospar that offers a wide selection of food and drink. Then there is Spar Gourmet, which is a “lifestyle supermarket” in Vienna and the surrounding area that stocks high-end items alongside the usual selection of basics.

Also, on a national level, Spar partners with food waste reduction company Too Good To Go. This means users of the Too Good To Go app can pick up food that would otherwise go to waste from Spar, Eurospar and some Interspar stores.

And if you like to get a bargain, you can collect tokens when you shop at Spar to save up to 20 percent off future purchases.


Billa has more than 1,000 stores across Austria and can be found in most towns and cities. It is easy to spot with its bright yellow and red branding and is known for stocking international and regional produce.

In-store own brands include Ja! Naturlich for organic products, Clever for budget prices and Wegenstein for award-winning Austrian wines. 

READ NEXT: Which Austrian cheeses are protected foods and why?

Billa operates the larger Billa Plus stores (formerly known as Merkur) in some locations, as well as an online shop for click and collect orders. Billa Plus offers even more regional products than the regular Billa shops and promises more price reductions as a result.

All stores have a bakery, a meat counter, a fish counter, take away coffee and freshly squeezed orange juice.

Plus, with the jö Bonus Club customers can collect one point for every Euro spent in Billa and Billa Plus, as well as at partner stores such as Libro, Bipa, Pagro Diskont and OMV.

Austrian supermarket Billa, part of the Rewe group. Photo: Creative commons, Von Rewe Group – Eigenes Werk, CC BY-SA


If you want to reduce how much you spend on food every month, then head to Hofer.

Hofer is basically the German brand Aldi but with a different name for the Austrian market. It sells cheaper, lesser known brands that Aldi is famous for, as well as some fresh Austrian produce. 

Hofer doesn’t have the same perks as other supermarkets like a cafe or a specialised butchers’ counter, but it does have the Backbox in-store bakery and the 100% aus Österreich (100% from Austria) meat range. It also has a range of weekly special offers, which vary from store to store.

But a word of warning: be prepared to pack your bags quickly in Hofer. The check-out assistants don’t mess around and often whizz products through the tills incredibly fast.

FOR MEMBERS: EXPLAINED: 10 ways to save money on your groceries in Austria


MPreis has more than 250 stores and is one of the main supermarkets in Tyrol. The independent chain works with around 250 regional suppliers and is a proud stockist of Tyrolean meat, cheese and vegetables, as well hundreds of organic products.

The quality of food products in MPreis is high and the stores are pleasant to visit, but prices for most other products can be higher than other stores. The international food section is also often limited, although this has been improving in recent years.

However, the Therese Mölk bakery delivers high-quality bread and baked goods, and the Nature Fair brand ensures customers know where their meat is coming from with a focus on animal welfare. And you can’t beat MPreis for a wide selection of regional products from the Alps. 

Additionally, MPreis has a selection of special offers in the online shop, like household items, children’s games and outdoor gear.


Prosi is an international supermarket specialising in Asian, African and Latin American food – the largest of its type in Austria. Products include spices, rice, drinks, seafood and vegetables, as well as some British products like PG Tips teabags.

The company is based in Vienna on Wimbergergasse in Neubau but also has an online shop with free delivery throughout Austria for orders over €99. 

Other brands in the Prosi group include an Indian restaurant, a cosmetic and hair world, cooking classes, apartments, an exotic festival and a charity to support developing communities around the world.

READ ALSO: How did the Wiener Schnitzel become an Austrian icon?


MaranVEGAN – Austria’s first vegan supermarket – opened on Stumpergasse in Vienna’s sixth district in 2013. The store was set up by a husband and wife team who decided to return to the world of entrepreneurship after realising retirement was too quiet.

Shoppers at MaranVEGAN can choose from over 4,000 products, including fresh fruit and vegetables, drinks and hygiene products. Plus, there is an in-store bistro with a changing weekly menu.

Customers can also take advantage of the MaranVEGAN loyalty card and save two percent on all items.


Unimarkt is a franchised cooperative of supermarkets. There are just 129 Unimarkt stores in Austria, with shops mostly found in Upper Austria, Styria, Salzburg and Lower Austria.

The stores stock the Jeden Tag range for low-cost shopping, Alnatura for organic food and UNIpur for family-friendly Austrian products.

Customers like that Unimarkt is an alternative option to spending money at the big supermarket chains and there is also the PAYBACK loyalty card to collect points.

Last year, Unimarkt was bought by entrepreneur Andreas Haider who plans to go up against market leaders Spar and Billa by expanding the number of Unimarkt stores across the country.

Penny Markt

Penny Markt is a discount German supermarket chain with many locations in the east of Austria, although none in the western states of Tyrol and Vorarlberg.

Customers can sample a variety of in-store brands, such as the cheap and cheerful Penny range, Echt Bio! (organic products) and Ich bin Österreich for regional food. And if you really want to save money then look out for the weekly Supaaa! deals where you can save up to 50 percent.

Additionally, Penny has a new online pre-order service for the in-store Fleischhauer (butcher).

Penny also participates in the jö Bonus Club scheme (like Billa) so you can collect points to spend at Penny or partners stores and save even more money.