Four deaths in four weeks

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The last days have been grim for couriers. We told how last Saturday (25.5.) a bike 21-year old Glovo courier named Pujan died after being hit by a garbage truck in Barcelona. Yesterday we heard that on Friday the 24th of May a car driver ran over a 19-year old UberEATS courier and fled the scene in Champs-sur-Marne near Paris. The courier was hospitalized and declared brain dead on Tuesday. On Tuesday the 28th of May, bike thiefs beat a Deliveroo courier to death during his shift after the courier had tried to stop them from stealing his bike. Three food couriers have died within four days in Europe. When you count the Yandex courier who died of exhaustion during his shift in St. Petersburg, there have been four deaths in the last four weeks.

All work in traffic is risky and bike couriers are particularly vulnerable. Therefor couriers need to have insurances, sick leave and a decent pay, for which they do not need to endanger themselves. The food delivery companies like Foodora, Wolt, Deliveroo, Glovo, UberEATS and Yandex do not offer any of these to their couriers, but circumvent labor legislation through freelance agreements. In addition, the pay is often so small and tied to the number of deliveries so that couriers would ride or drive more, faster and longer.

Such a system harms couriers—and as we have seen, also kills them. The courier in St. Petersburg died of exhaustion, because the pay is so small that in order to get a decent day’s worth of pay, they have to work 10–12 hours. The courier in London was beaten to death, because he could not afford to lose his means of work, which he himself pays for. A collission with a car can incapacitate a bike courier for weeks, and if that happens, the platform companies leave the courier on their own deivces. They just lose their income for the time they recover. If they are lucky enough not get killed in the accident.

edit: We have corrected the information regarding the state of the courier in Champs-sur-Marne.

Correction: we have just learned from our colleagues in France that the courier in has not died. As a result of the accident, the courier was declared brain dead on Tuesday, but he is still alive and his family hopes for the best.
We wish all the best to our colleague in Champs-sur-Marne and express our sympathy to his family and friends.

International courier community loses yet a new courier to the job

suomeksi / Facebook

The international courier community has suffered another needless loss, as a bike courier died late on Saturday night during his shift in Barcelona. The courier, who was working for the food deliver company Glovo, was hit by a garbage truck and died instantly on the scene. The circumstances of the fatal accident are still being investigated by the local authorities.

We were informed about this tragic event by our colleagues and comrades from the Riders x Derechos courier union in Barcelona. We want to offer our condolances to the family and friends of our colleague.

Working in traffic is always risky, and that is why couriers, be they on bikes, mopeds or driving cars, absolutely need insurances, sick leave and security. There are things that none of the platform companies, such as Foodora, Wolt, Deliveroo, UberEats or Glovo offer to their couriers on whose work their businesses are based. Moreover, the low and piecemeal pay models of these companies are designed to make couriers work constantly longer and harder in order to scrape together even a small pay. In such conditions, accidents are bound to happen, and when they occur, the companies leave the couriers on their own devices.

This needs to stop now. In the last few months couriers have died at work in Italy, France, Russia and now in Barcelona as a result of accidents or over-work. The platform companies cannot go on circumventing labor legislation that was devised to avoid and minimise these unnecessary accidents.

We will continue until couriers have the workers’ rights they deserve. Glovo couriers have already begun demonstrating.

We mourn, but we organise too.

Foodora ja Wolt pour their money to influencer marketing – still no improvements in couriers’ working conditions

suomeksi / Facebook

A few months ago a well-known Finnish celebrity advertised Foodora in their Instagram post, which stated that it’s a “paid partnership with Foodora”. Right away, the followers of the said celebrity asked if they knew that Foodora and Wolt couriers had already for some time been involved in a labour struggle for employment contracts and better working conditions. The critical comments were completely spontaneous, not devised by the Justice4couriers campaign.

Recently also Radio Helsinki advertised Wolt on their social media accounts. These social media gimmicks and various campaigns offering free deliveries and such emphasize that both Foodora and Wolt are willing to pour money into just about anything – except improving their couriers’ working conditions.

Food delivery is a good and a necessary service and the Justice4couriers campaign does not want that the companies go bust – on the contrary, in question is also the income of us couriers. However, we demand Foodora and Wolt to treat all of their workers equally.

We don’t accept that unlike the office employees and management of Foodora and Wolt, the couriers are forced to work as entrepreneurs even though the business model of Foodora and Wolt is totally based on their work. The couriers are not employed and they have no protections against summary lay-offs, no sick leave and no insurances – and they also have to pay the side expenses of the work themselves from their low income.

We couriers do not demand the impossible. We want that recent pay cuts are repealed and that we will be offered the possibility of employment contracts. Our work is the backbone of Foodora and Wolt. We won’t accept that we, who do the most dangerous and physically most taxing work, get the smallest pay and are not even employed.

Meeting with Wolt

suomeksi / Facebook

A week ago on Friday 26th of April, our campaign representatives met with representatives of Wolt. We had constructive preliminary discussions with the Wolt leadership about the terms and conditions of couriers, our demands and Wolt points of view. We are vey pleased that Wolt representatives agreed to meet with us and we hope that we can continue our dialogue over the working conditions of couriers. We also want to note that despite repeated requests, Foodora Finland has not agreed to meet us.

We want improvements to the conditions and terms of work of couriers and especially the possibility for an employment contract to those couriers who want it.

Foodora couriers start campaigning in Toronto

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On May Day, Foodora couriers in Toronto started the Foodsters United campaign to improve working conditions. We stand in solidarity with our colleagues in Canada and across the world. Together we will win!

Fooroda Finland has steadfastly refused to negotiate with us, and we remind the company, that now is a good time to start.

Terrible news from Russia

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On the 16th of April, Artyk Orozaliev, a 21-year-old bike courier working for the food delivery company Yandex Food, died of exhaustion during his shift. In the post-mortem report doctors state that Orozaliev died of a heart attack, possibly caused by overstress. Another Yandex courier, who worked at the same time as Orozaliev, tells the newspaper Novaja Gazeta, that Orozaliev’s shift had lasted for 10 consecutive hours and he told he was not feeling well. During their shift, Orozaliev’s colleague went to a shop to purchase cigarettes, and when he returned, he found Orozaliev collapsed by his bike, dead. Orozaliev’s family members tell that the athletic young man did not have any heart issues prior to his death.

The death of a colleauge has sparked outrage among Russian food couriers, who note that in order to earn 1 000–1 500 Russian rubles a day (13–20 euro), they have to work 12 to 14 hours. According to the couriers, the distances are long, couriers often do not have time to hold breaks and the orders are heavy. In addition, Yandex fines its couriers 500 rubles (ca. 7 euro) for coming late to a shift and 1 500 rubles (ca. 20 euros) for missing a shift. To add insult to a fatal injury, on the day following his death, Orozaliev received such a fine for missing his shift on that day.

The tragic, and completely unnecessary, death of our colleague Artyk Orozaliev show why couriers need minimum security, decent pay and fair working conditions. When the food delivery companies do not provide their couriers with sick leave or insurances, deny them basic worker rights by “freelance contracts” and pay them at piece-meal rates to push them to work harder and harder, injuries, accidents and even deaths are only a question of time. Food couriers have died during their shifts in accidents in Italy and France, and now a young courier in Russia has been literally worked to death.

On this May day, we demand justice for couriers and all the workers.