If you are going to watch the World Cup final in France on Sunday, dont plan on ordering in food for delivery.
Bike delivery workers for online platforms Uber Eats, Deliveroo and Foodora are striking in protest over their working conditions during a week that is likely to see a major surge in demand for their services, according to an organizer.
The Independent Deliverymens Collective in Paris (CLAP), a group that presents itself as an organizer for the workers, said the strike is in protest against what it deems to be dangerous working conditions, an aggressive recruitment strategy, a rise in the number of available workers, which has depressed wages, and other concerns. Workers for delivery platforms Stuart and Glovo would also participate.
“Following the continued degradation of our working conditions, we have decided in favor of a strike during one of the most profitable weeks for the platforms,” CLAP said on Twitter on July 4. An accompanying statement, flagging a strike for July 8 to 15 — interfering with two World Cup games — was retweeted 253 times.
The strike comes as European policymakers weigh how to regulate gig-economy platforms that have upended traditional relations between employers and employees.
A cycle courier for meal delivery service Uber Eats rides in Lille on September 2, 2017 | Philippe Huguen/AFP via Getty Images
In June, Deliveroo gave a six-figure settlement to a group of 50 London deliverers who said they had been paid below the minimum wage, before the case could reach an employment tribunal. In May, Uber agreed to offer paid sick leave and other health benefits to its EU deliverers and drivers as part of a bid to offset regulatory pressures, including an outright ban in London.
A spokesperson for Deliveroo said that Paris strikers demands “do not represent the wishes of thousands of riders,” who value the flexibility of choosing “when, where and whether to work.” The spokesperson added: “Fewer riders would work with Deliveroo if they were employees and lost this freedom.”
Uber declined to comment. The ride-sharing company is consulting with couriers, most of whom work part-time with the service, to see how their experience can be improved.
Elsewhere, labor activists are lining up to challenge working conditions in the ascendant gig economy.
CLAPs demands include an hourly minimum wage, bonuses for biking in rainy weather, and the possibility of guaranteed hours.
CLAP says wages have sunk as platforms aggressively recruited new delivery staff. They also rail against a provision in a “Future of Work” bill under consideration in French parliament, which they say would validate the Uberized “economic model.”
Freshman MP Aurélien Taché of Emmanuel Macrons La République en Marche (LREM) majority, who proposed the provision, defended it on July 9 as actually “reinforcing the rights” of gig workers, by guaranteeing them access to training, insurance, and a “decent” wage.
CLAP fired back at the lawmaker: “You have not met a single delivery worker since writing your amendment, and it shows in your response.”
It is unclear how widespread the strike is, and CLAP did not respond to requests for comment. Lacking a formal union contract, deliverymen that strike are unlikely to receive compensation. An online page raising funds for the picketers had garnered 1,800 euros as of this morning.
CLAPs demands include an hourly minimum wage, bonuses for biking in rainy weather, and the possibility of guaranteed hours. The group also appears to take issue with the pay-by-the-delivery compensation model of the platform. In a June 16 post on Twitter, CLAP shared footage of a vehicle crashing into two cyclists. “Our daily life x1000,” said CLAP, adding, “We are paid TO GO THE FASTEST POSSIBLE !!!”
Elsewhere, in London, Deliveroo deliverers have announced a strike for July 13. The CLAP statement, titled “Round 1,” suggests there could be subsequent action in Paris as well.