Toronto’s bike and car couriers working for Foodora launched the Justice for Foodora Couriers campaign today, International Workers’ Day. Couriers for the food delivery company are in one of the many dangerous, unstable jobs that the gig economy has created in the last 15 years. At the heart of their fight is the central demand for Foodora to respect them as workers, which includes the right to unionize and to be recognized as employees instead of falsely called self-employed.
Foodora couriers are among an increasing group of people who have to fight to even be recognized as actual workers! Being wrongfully classified as an “independent contractor” is one of the most common problems we hear on our Workers’ Rights Hotline. Too many employers misclassify their workers in order to brush off their obligation to respect basic labour laws.
Since Foodora sets the couriers’ pay rates and disciplines workers, the company should make contributions to Employment Insurance, honour the right to job-protected sick leave, and give a guaranteed income at least at the minimum wage. Right now, couriers are not guaranteed wages and get paid $1 per km only when they are going to drop off an order of food.
When Foodora workers jump in a car or hop on a bike to deliver food in all types of weather, they risk serious accidents. Bike couriers have an extremely high rate of injury, and WSIB is not a sufficient support. Foodora does not offer any other benefit to ensure their injured workers can access the physiotherapy or medication they need to get better. Foodora should not get away with passing along all the risk and none of the reward.
International Workers’ Day is the perfect time for Foodora workers to begin their fight to unionize with the support of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW). Around the world, workers are standing up against the gig economy. Couriers in Finland won a break room where they can take rests; in the UK, couriers took strike actions; and Uber drivers in different countries are organizing for change. As Deena Ladd, executive director of the Workers’ Action Centre, said, “We need to collectively fight back against the types of jobs that have saturated the labour market today, and food delivery services are a great place to start.”
Here’s a little sample of what you can write:
What couriers want from Foodora is simple and achievable.
Respect: respect as workers, including our right to unionize
Health and Safety: better protections for our safety and support when we get injured
Fair compensation: to be paid fairly for the difficult and sometimes dangerous work that we do
To find out more, visit the Justice for Foodora Couriers website. If you are using the Foodora app, you can support the workers by leaving a tip and expressing your support in the comments of your order. Foodora workers will also be painting the city pink during ongoing street outreach in Toronto. You can join in the action by shooting them an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Make sure to connect with them on Instagram (@unitedfoodsters), Twitter (@foodstersunited), and Facebook.