There is no reason why bicycle couriers should be outside conventional employment — unless one wants it.
Two years ago, when I started as a freelance bike courier at Foodora, the shift allocation was truly flexible and well managed. The fragment part-time work had the advantages of a part-time job: it was easy to combine the job with studies and individual needs were addressed in a good way. Also the relationship with the management was close and interactive.
A gradually happening change turned the situation on its head. Later, shifts had to be taken when they were offered, so that one would not fall into the bottom category. The only flexibility was that of the worker: people went riding while too tired and even when sick.
We have now in our hands a problem that is wider than one company or one profession. “The new forms of work” are being normalized in many sectors, and usually this change does not benefit the workers. With food deliveries, the question is not solved by switching over to competitor, whose practices as far as I know very similar. I encourage customers to give feedback directly to the company, demands actions from decision makers and to vote with careful thought in the next elections.
I hope that food couriers stay on the streets of Finland. Increasing the appreciation of their work could be one way to improve the working conditions, and that can be done by the customers.
Mikko Akkola, bicycle courier and MA student