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In Finland, the government negotations for a new center-left coalition government have been completed. The negotiations were led by the Social Democratic party between the Center party, the Greens, the Left Alliance and the Swedish People’s party. The resulting government programme has been made public and it contains some good news for us food couriers and other “fake freelancers”. The programme states:
In order to reduce the uncertainty of working life, the concept of employment will be specified in the labour legislation so that the masking of an employment relation into something else will be prevented.Government programme 2019: 137 [our translation]
We Foodora and Wolt couriers have since the last fall demanded that we will be given a chance to sign employment contracts. Our campaign started after Foodora cut their couriers’ pay last summer with an unilateral agreement. Wolt had already issued pay cuts earlier, and as a consequence, also Wolt couriers joined the campaign. Both Foodora and Wolt can at any time cut the pay of their couriers, since the couriers work under freelance-contracts. Because of them, the couriers have no protection against arbitrary pay cuts or lay-offs, a possibility for sick leave, insurances, holidays or any other protection or worker right. Despite this, the work of couriers fulfills the criteria of employment, because the couriers are not in an independent position.
It is good that the programme addresses the issue of false freelance contracts. It is unsustainable that some companies distort competition and tread the working conditions of their workers by circumventing the labour legislation and dodging their responsibilities as employers. We have asked both Foodoran and Wolt to negotiate with us over our demands. We think the companies would do well to start the negotiations now, because our demands are more than reasonable and with the new government programme, it is high time to negotiate.