Class struggle without borders – A report from Stockholm

Transnational Social Strike Platform is a network of base organised unions and other leftists organisations working with labour rights. A meeting of the network of was hosted by its local participants in Stockholm, Sweden, in 23rd to 25th of November, a rider active in the Deliverunion campaign represented FAU Berlin. The theme, “Against the logistics of exploitation”, was related to a notion of ‘logistic control’: this control concerns the connections of production sites and labour over transnational production chains and differentiated working conditions, including such conditions as international subcontracting, outsourcing, privatisation and precarisation.

The opening session on Friday afternoon included a panel discussion, in which the main focus was on right to strike. One of the inputs into discussion was the recent plan of the Swedish government to restrict right to strike: under the new law, it will be legal to strike only as part of collective bargaining for national collective contract. Other inputs into discussion included the struggle of Georgian metro workers, who had used a hunger strike in their struggle as they were denied be a court decision their right to strike, as well as reports from the International Womens’ Strike. In the discussion following the panel, participants were stressing that it is of crucial importance to defend the right to strike, and workers should strive to defend their right by striking. Nevertheless, the focus should not be excessively on legality issues, as it is essentially not so important if a strike is legal or not. Furthermore, it was recognised that strikes can take many forms, and we need to be creative in broadening our thinking and understanding on what a strike can be.

On Saturday the participants worked first in the separate parallel workshops, under the titles ‘logistics as transnational command over labour’ and ‘precarity, mobility and migrant labour: fragmentation and challenges to logistics’. The workshops consisted of initial inputs of three participating union or organisations, introducing some of their strugless and issues, followed by open discussions. Workshop on ‘precarity, mobility and migrant labour: fragmentation and challenges to logistics’ included following inputs: the representative of Central European Organising Center, from Czech Republic, reported on situations were employers and management were using changes in labour contracts, increased supervision and personal harassment to control workers who, in principle, had stabile contracts in a way that, in practice, made their employment instabile and precarious. A representative from Si Cobas Union, from Italy, reported on their struggle to organise warehouse workers and issues faced by migrant workers: these included, for instance, that migrant workers were in some situations able to take up only contracts up to two weeks, and while residence permits are often tied to employment, migrants faced extensive risks in face of losing employments. The representative of FAU and Deliverunion campaign reported on the struggle to unionise a work force without work contracts, with a very high rate of workers exiting and new ones entering, and with employers using withholding of information against their work force. During the open discussion of this workshop, various points were raised, including the variability of formal conditions that workers doing the same work, sometimes even in same work places would increasingly face; Slovenian participants, for instance, emphasised how in harbours it is typical that dock workers doing the same work could be employed by the dock directly, employed on stabile contract by a company that is subcontracting from the dock, or employed on short-term contracts by subcontracting companies.

Workshops were followed by all the participants coming together to discuss issues raised in the workshops. Some of the central points discussed included:

– need to organise strikes transnationally; as the logistic chain is transnational, strikes only in one country will be inefficient.

– workers and unions need to be informed over conditions in different countries.

– the management uses the differentiation between the workers for exploitation: these distinctions include migrants vs. citizens, contracting vs. subcontracting, permanent vs. temporary contracts, gender inequality in labour, and indebtedness of workers. Also labour organising needs to not only take into account the differences, but unite workers over them.

– labour struggles need to be politicised. This is to stress that they concern social conditions of workers and opposition to exploitation, by and large, not merely demands over wages in individual work places or under specific collective contracts.

It was emphasised by many participants that issues faced by migrant workers are at the core of labour struggle. Furthermore, womens’ struggle against gendered exploitation and exploitation in terms of unpaid household work and care work is essential part of labour struggle.

The meeting on Sunday focused on discussion the next steps of Transnational Social Strike Platform. Possibilities to organise the next meeting potentially in Georgia was discussed, involving questions around how large the meeting should be or what is it contributing to local struggles. Another main discussion topic was potential collective action by participants unions and organisations of the platform. Proposal for points of action were the International Womens’ Strike on 8th of March, or Black Friday in November. These discussions will continue between members of the network and representatives wishing to commit to developing the activities of the platform.

Deliveroo riders from UK and France visit Berlin!

Don’t miss this important meeting on Tuesday (Dec 11th) 3-5pm about the new distance based pay system.

Deliveroo riders from UK and France will talk about their experiences with the new system in their countries (disclaimer, their pay went down and distances got longer). We look forward to seeing you and chatting more about this important issue!

Where: New Yorck im Bethanien, Mariannenplatz 2a, 10997 Berlin-Kreuzberg.

Don’t believe the hype – the new fee system is a trap! Come together now!

Colleagues and fellow Deliveroo riders!
 
Deliveroo is about to implement a new fee system in Germany. This new pay scheme is already in place in most other countries in Europe where Deliveroo operates. The company has told us that we can now choose to participate the experiment for a new fee system, if we like. Do not be fooled by this! In France, for example, all the old contracts were eventually terminated, and everyone was forced to take up the new system.
 
The new fee is partially based on distance, so longer deliveries will be paid better. Surely we would like to be paid more for longer distances? Don’t believe the hype, it’s a trap! Our fellow riders in UK are telling us that the company will start to tamper with the fees, changing the minimum pays according to their whim. The odds are, that eventually we will have to work even harder to make the same income as we do now. As if we didn’t work our asses off already! Nothing guarantees that our earnings will not fall. In fact, that seems very likely.
 
Interested in the long-term vision for the future of this system? We could take a look at what is happening in the US – this is where platform economy businesses have developed their policies furthest: in New York, the fees for food delivery with UberEats are below two dollars!
 
Fellow riders, falling payments will most likely be our future – unless we resist! We are calling riders to come together now! Let’s share experiences and information, let’s look at what the company is really doing, lets plan what we can do – and let’s act against the worsening of our conditions! If we stand together, it will not be that difficult to pressure the company. As independent contractors, we can simply decide to stop working whenever we choose. If we do this together, the company will fail to deliver its service to its customers. They do not want to lose their customers to their competitors.
 
If we fail to stand together, the company will do with us whatever they please. You can be sure that they will think of their investors’ interests first. They will continue to claim that they give us what we want, while behind the obscurity of the new system they will be cutting our payments and making our lives more difficult.
 
Together we will be strong. Riders unite!

The Logistics of Exploitation

November 23-25 Deliverunion Berlin (FAU) will participate in the conference “Against the Logistics of Exploitation” in Stockholm, Sweden.

We will come together and network with other unions and groups across Europe, for example: IWGB (England), IP (Poland), SI COBAS (Italy) and The Dock Workers Union and SAC (Sweden). While being in the north we’ll also try to meet up with the Finnish riders from the campaign #justice4couriers

Participators/fb-event: facebook event

The full program can be seen here: transnational-strike.info

Riders across Europe unite to form the Transnational Federation of Couriers

Last week riders from DeliverUnion joined couriers from 31 other European collectives and unions from 12 countries in Brussels to share common strategies and to found the Transnational Courier Federation! It was really exciting to meet and learn from so many other riders who are organising under platform companies such as Deliveroo, UberEats and Foodora, and also couriers who have started their own cooperative delivery companies.

“These companies operate on a transnational level, so we need to resist them on a transnational level.” (IWW Courier Network member)

Since 2016 riders for “gig economy” platforms have been organising for better working conditions across Europe and beyond to Hong Kong, Indonesia, Argentina and Australia, grabbing media headlines with their demonstrations and strikes.

Continue reading “Riders across Europe unite to form the Transnational Federation of Couriers”

Deliverunion is going to Brussels

October 25-26 Deliverunion is travelling to Brussels to meet other riders from around Europe for the biggest international meeting of food delivery couriers ever!

Since 2016 a wave of rider strikes and protests has spread through Europe. Hundreds of couriers have stood up to the exploitative practices of Deliveroo, UberEats, Foodora and the like, demanding better wages and protections at work.

This week riders from Italy, Spain, France, UK, Netherlands, Switzerland, Denmark, Germany, Austria and Belgium will meet in Brussels to share experiences and ideas on organising for better working conditions.

This is an exciting chance to learn from the successes and failures from each country, and to connect and strengthen our common campaigns through a European wide courier network against poverty pay and precarious work in the gig economy.

“Wow, you can do that?” (EN/DE/SE)

SE Riders Unite Flyer

 

September 14-16, FAU Berlin visited three Swedish cities and talked about the Deliverunion campaign. Despair and frustration changed into hope of change.

In the spring of 2018 SAC invited us to talk about the #Deliverunion campaign. Between 14-16 September, we visited Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö, where the local unions organized information meetings open to all but especially for riders. Union working groups had produced local info-material and distributed them to the riders on the street, with one leaflet inviting them to the meeting and the other, describing how SAC had now taken on the delivery companies and urging all riders to join their local unions.

A handful of riders attended each of the three meetings. The conversation revolved around their work environment, the (self-)organising they had already done and the difficulties and opportunities in reaching out to their colleagues. We from Berlin talked about how we started organizing ourselves, about the experiences we made, and about successes and hardships in our campaign of over 2 years. The similarity of our situations and the common frustration with our working conditions were striking.

Continue reading ““Wow, you can do that?” (EN/DE/SE)”

Deliverunion Sweden Tour

The Swedish union SAC Syndikalisterna is launching the campaign Deliverunion – organizing riders working for companies like Foodora and Uber Eats in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö. Riders from Berlin will visit the cities between the 14-16th of September and talk about what we’ve been doing the last 18 months!

• Stockholm: Friday 14th September 17:00 at SAC-huset, 3rd floor, Sveavägen 98.
• Gothenburg: Saturday 15th September 15:30 at Viktoriahuset/Hagabion, Linnégatan 21.
• Malmö: Sunday 16th September 16:00 at Café Jesusbaren, Falsterbogatan 27B.

#Deliverunion Survey – Foodora Rider Opinions of Shift Planning App

Having trouble with the newly-introduced shift planning app (Rooster)? Take our survey and let us know!

We want to better understand the obstacles that riders are facing in doing their unpaid shift planning on a weekly basis.

The Deliverunion campaign is based on riders’ own workplace issues and demands. Help us today and take our shift planning survey 🙂