Hundreds of workers at online retailer Amazon in Germany went on strike on Monday, the first stoppage this year in a pay dispute that has been dragging on for months.

A spokesman for the Verdi labor union said about 500 of the around 1,200 workers at Amazon's distribution center in Leipzig were expected to strike.

Amazon employs a total of 9,000 warehouse staff at nine distribution centers in Germany - its second biggest market after the United States - plus 14,000 seasonal workers.

Three of Amazon's German logistic centers were hit by a stoppages in the run-up to Christmas, although the company said deliveries were not affected.

Verdi wants Amazon to raise pay for workers at its German distribution centers in accordance with collective bargaining agreements for the mail order and retail industry.

However, Amazon 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.