Workers' rights

Food delivery workers demand 'respect, dignity' at Paris protest against abuse

Men working for the delivery company Uber Eats are seen in front of the undulating glass canopy of the Forum de Halles shopping center in central Paris on May 20, 2020 s France partially lifted restrictions to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
Men working for the delivery company Uber Eats are seen in front of the undulating glass canopy of the Forum de Halles shopping center in central Paris on May 20, 2020 s France partially lifted restrictions to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 disease caused by the novel coronavirus. AFP - PHILIPPE LOPEZ

Around a hundred delivery workers have demonstrated in Paris to denounce attacks and racist insults they say they have suffered while on the job. The protesters demanded to be treated with respect and dignity.

Advertising

The protest got underway at Place de la République on Friday, with demonstrators recounting the aggressive and contemptuous insults they face from both customers and employers alike.

Gig economy delivery workers say they endure racist insults on a daily basis, and want to have their voices heard under the Collectif des Livreurs autonomes des Plateformes (CLAP), which organised Friday's event.

Jérôme Pimot, organiser and spokesperson for the food delivery workers collective, said: "We're not talking about labour rights, but human rights."

Attacks on workers

In recent weeks, several delivery workers have been physically abused, and images of a racist attack on a deliverer at the end of May in Cergy shocked the public.

Delivery drivers have deplored their working conditions, the relationship with customers but also with restaurant owners.

"Sometimes we get remarks like, 'We're not in Africa here,'" says Jessie Harry, a Deliveroo delivery driver.

"The restaurant owners ask us to wait outside even when it's raining – they treat us like shit."

"People tell us they have paid to be delivered to their front door. For an order of three euros, we climb seven floors without a lift," said another delivery driver. 

The delivery platform system allows customers and restaurants to report delivery drivers if they are unhappy with a service.

This deactivates their account, leaving the delivery drivers without a business. They have asked the platforms for a more transparent dialogue and, above all, consultation with the workers.

CLAP has planned a second rally on 18 July.

On the sidelines of Friday's protest, the CGT trade union announced in a press release the creation of a union of "two-wheel delivery companies in Paris" on Saturday 26 June.

Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morning