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(en) France, Alternative Libertaire AL Octobre - Brussels: how the bike precariat is organized? (fr, it, pt) [machine translation]

Date Sun, 22 Oct 2017 08:33:05 +0300

A first spontaneous revolt, a team of revolutionaries who settle at Take Eat Esay, then Deliveroo and Uber: alchemy is operating. ---- The Collège des coursier.es in Brussels was born in 2015 in the former take-away company Take Eat Easy (TEE) [1]of a conjunction of events. The first was a spontaneous revolt against the deterioration of working conditions. Wages were at that time much higher than those practiced today by raptors in the sector. The couriers and couriers were mostly students and cycling enthusiasts, one could almost speak of an " aristocracy " Of the couriers. This revolt was easily mitigated by the management which threatened to disable the count of the protesters, conceded some facilities with the bicycles and set up a pseudo-concertation. A first militant, Trevor, will nevertheless participate in far from this first spontaneous revolt.

A boulevard for trade union action to fight

A few months later, Trevor will share this experience at a public meeting of the collective AL Brussels around the notion of precariat and the need to organize it. It was then a relatively new field and interesting in many ways for the revolutionaries: highly technological sector, at the forefront of the capitalist offensive to break social rights ; very precarious and young wage-earners ; abandoned by the trade union bureaucracy - particularly heavy in Belgium - which opened a boulevard to a trade union action of struggle.

So we were several to establish ourselves as couriers at TEE to make agitation. After a few months, we had gathered some fifty runners and couriers. Do not hide it, getting them to get involved in the long term is laborious: with a strong turnover, it is a volatile audience ; attendance at meetings is uncertain ; moving from a virtual community to a community of struggle takes time. Time will play against us, because in summer 2016 TEE went bankrupt before our collective was able to launch its first actions.

From one exploiter to another

Rather than staying on this failure, we have used our experience to engage collectively with other players in the sector: Deliveroo and Uber. After a few months, our networks were reconstituted. Our militant nucleus has made it possible to overcome the problem of turn-over by playing the role of " collective memory ", but the irregular involvement of couriers has led us to leave the model of the " flexible collective " to move towards a more structure formal, with clear accession and secretariat identified.

We will see or will conduct this field activity in the coming months. One thing is certain: we are now structured. This summer, the collective led a first action in solidarity with the employees of the call center in Brussels threatened to close.

Mancur Olson (AL Brussels)

[1] " Take Eat Easy, uberized delivery " Alternative Libertarian, May 2016

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