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(en) ozzip: Gig economy, strike of London couriers and European law [machine translation]

Date Thu, 3 Jun 2021 10:14:19 +0300


The so-called gig economy is well known to every person, not only in Poland. Solutions similar to contracts for specific work, mandate contracts, fraudulent and compulsory economic activity, aimed at bypassing the labor law, are everyday life. Conflicts with employers bending regulations are not uncommon. This text aims to discuss some of the most famous successes of workers in the sector in their struggle for decent work and pay. For this purpose, Deliveroo serves as an example. It is a food delivery company founded in 2013 in London. Works in the UK and several other countries. ---- The reasons for the protest in London ---- In 2016. The London couriers for delivering Deliveroo made a protest near hen has proposed a change in the structure of wages. The rate of £ 7 per hour plus shipping bonus has been reduced to £ 3.75 shipping. It doesn't take a genius to conclude that the only solution is to faggle like crazy so that you can survive from one paycheck to another after you change your pay.

While at the company level such changes are reduced labor costs, which translates directly into higher profits for shareholders, at the national level these cuts are presented as a success of the productivity of the economy.

Productivity is an indicator of the economy showing relationships e so. input , i.e. costs incurred in the economy to the so-called output , i.e. the amount of goods or services produced in a given period by companies in a given industry or country. Instead of investments where automation or better technologies would increase output , the most common solution is input cutting, including payroll and social security costs. Often, employers also get rid of other costs, such as those related to health and safety at work. Such a race to the bottom is portrayed as an economic success. Behind such success, however, lies the exploitation and misfortune of workers. This is what the employer e leads to euphoria , seasoned employees with real tears and pain.

One such misfortune is described by Grace Blakeley in her book "Stolen", in which she portrays Jerome, a bicycle courier from a company in Great Britain. Jerome - previously using old bicycle - visit clay bicycle service, in which the seller after inform wa him that for 400 pounds without any interest he may take a brand new bike in installments. Jerome does wonders wit a long time and buy clay new bike. However, as a result of the accident, Jerome was unable to pay off one of the loan installments. Working in this sector is related to the principle: "You do not drive, you do not receive any salary - whether you are sick, have a child or have an accident." Consequently, Jerome tookthe so-called chwilówka, which also did not was not able viewed repay. The bike, which cost £ 400, it becomes much more expensive investment for ± - £ 1,000 - the weight of Jerome was able to carry. As a consequence, the equipment is taken over by the bailiff. A devastated Jerome committed suicide a few days later. History e t e also described The Guardian (26 May 2018). And several other newspapers. Interestingly, the Jerome tragedy is also being used for marketing purposes by one of the debt advisory firms.

Similar tragedies, though usually less tragic, are known to almost every person working in this sector. Growing students carry bags and backpacks full of supplies. It is not uncommon for couriers to load heavy loads into bags, which leads to shoulder and back injuries. Motorcycle couriers break all traffic rules even in the most inconvenient conditions, not so much because of an excess of testosterone in the blood, but because of the need to make a certain number of deliveries to support themselves and / or their family.

A campaign for a decent wage

After introducing changes to the payroll regulations , couriers very quickly calculated that they would not be able to achieve a sustainable income without long working hours and / or rush. R Starting Up so the campaign against unilateral changes introduced by the employer and made the strike.

Surprisingly, the government got involved quickly. The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said couriers must be paid at least the national minimum wage (£ 7.2 an hour in 2016).

Such a move was unexpected from a conservative government. Until now, this party has been associated only with the deregulation of the labor market and aversion to trade unions. Taking the existing line of the political ± Conservative Party, it was hard to expect that the government at all involved in this problem. Political pressure from the opposition helped . The then leader, socialist Jeremy Corbyn, along with all the political backing he had, including trade unions, was also heavily involved on the side of the workers. However, it was primarily the fact that Deliveroo employees took up the fight that forced the employer to make concessions.

Fight for trade union recognition

The couriers did not stop at small successes. In November 2016, the IWGB trade union applied for recognition of the organization as an entity that could participate in collective bargaining negotiations. Deliveroo questioned the possibility of something like this, arguing that couriers are not employees, but sole traders. According to Deliveroo, the signatories of the union declaration did not understand this distinction, and therefore their membership declarations are questionable.

Central Arbitration Committee (CAC), ie. The court mediation, which considered the request, took the decision e that couriers are not employees in the sense understood by the British labor law. In February 2017 year. Couriers and the union will make you appeal that decision to the High Court. The ruling on this issue was reached in November 2018 year . The High Court found the CAC's decision right. According to the High Court, it is not prohibited by law to associate in a union, but neither British nor EU regulations allow for the recognition of couriers as employees. This samy m can not be a party to the negotiation of a collective agreement.

The couriers did not give up. The campaign received support from parliamentarians. Sixty British MPs signed a petition supporting ± union and calling for an end exploitation in the sector.

In February 2021 , the union appealed against the ruling of the court of first instance to the Court of Appeal. It is not known when the decision is taken on this, but it's worth a look at the last that ruling the Supreme Court; February 19, 2021 on. Decided on drivers' Uber for employees, which include a e National Minimum rate per hour of work and safe working conditions. This ruling could turn out to be groundbreaking for Deliveroo and IWGB couriers.

Trends in other countries in Europe and in the world

If you look at court rulings in other European countries regarding Deliveroo's practices, the trend seems to be positive for employees. In January 2021 r. Italian court ruled for the illegal use of an algorithm that does not distinguish between legitimate reason to refrain from work (illness, strike) and other b wit ahy m reason. In February 2021 , the Dutch court of appeal ruled that couriers are the so-called freelance pseudo- rs , the same rate of pay should Deliveroo requirements ± in the sector. Deliveroo will most likely appeal against this decision.

In France, in 2018 and 2019 , tribunals ruled on the establishment of employment relationships. According to the French s ± shoot algorithm that controls the work ± couriers, is an essential element of their subordination in relation to the employer. Thus, the couriers are great at wnikami, not self-employed. Similar ruling and sank in the context of workers Uber 2019 r .

In February 2020 year. Court in Paris ruled that the courier, who between 2015 and 2016 r. Worked for Deliveroo was called. self-employed. Thereby he established an employment relationship between him and Deliveroo. The judgment also referred to the GPS and the algorithm as an essential element in establishing that employment relationship. A year after this ruling, a number of companies in the sector, including Just Eat, have been forced to hire couriers as employees rather than self-employed.

However, the opposite trend is visible in the United States. In November 2020 , the state referendum became the basis for deregulating the labor rights of people working in the gig economy . The result of 59% to 41% in the referendum was won by big business, which was behind the so-called California Proposition 22. According to various reports, workers in the sector, instead of receiving the California minimum wage ($ 12 / hour), receive an average wage of $ 5.64 an hour.

It is worth mentioning that less than a year earlier, the so-called California Assembly Bill No. 5 was buried as a result of lobbying by Uber, Lyft and DoorDash (US A's equivalent to Deliveroo ). This project - if it came into force - would force companies in the sector to treat couriers as employees, including employers to bear the costs of health insurance. It is the lack of such health insurance and the need for medical expenses to be covered by a sick person that is one of the leading causes of homelessness in the United States.

Mateusz Zuk

https://ozzip.pl/publicystyka/strategie-zwiazkowe/item/2785-gig-economy-strajk-londynskich-kurierow-i-europejskie-prawo
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