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.

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