business news in context, analysis with attitude

The Wall Street Journal reports that "hundreds of German workers at two of Inc.'s German sites are walking off the job for three days from Thursday, the latest in a series of strikes aimed at pressuring the online retailer to resolve a wage dispute ... Union representatives didn't rule out additional strikes, after repeated labor action since May. The union is demanding higher pay and other benefits, including paid vacation and extra overtime pay, common perks in many German wage agreements."

This dispute, the Journal writes, "reflects the inherent tension between Amazon's aggressive pricing strategy and the realities of doing business in much of Europe, where a combination of union influence and strong labor protections give companies far less flexibility than they enjoy in the U.S."

The broader tension is illustrated in a Reuters story this morning, reporting that "France is pushing for the European Union to regulate global internet companies like Google, Amazon and Facebook "more aggressively, to counter their growing dominance over online commerce and services." The belief in France - at least in the office of the minister for the digital economy - is that "Europe needed new regulatory powers to intervene much earlier, to level the playing field in the internet economy and allow the emergence of alternatives in Europe to U.S. Web giants."
KC's View:
The French approach to globalization strikes me as being so 19th century. Just because you legislate against global e-companies doesn't mean your own country will be able to innovate and create competitive options. One does not follow the other.