Swiss bike couriers take out protection against Uber Eats

Bicycle couriers have been offered protection against lower-paid competitors. © KEYSTONE / CHRISTIAN BEUTLER

Swiss bicycle couriers have signed a 'Europe-first' collective bargaining agreement deal aimed at protecting them from cheaper rivals, such as the food delivery service Uber Eats.

This content was published on February 5, 2019 - 15:00
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The courier employer’s association Swissmessengerlogistics (SML) negotiated the contract with the trade union Syndicom on Tuesday. It guarantees a minimum hourly wage of CHF 20.35 ($20.40), regulated surcharges, on-call services, schedules within a 42.5-hour week and paternity leave.

The deal is being hailed as the first of its type among the urban courier industry in Europe. Around 600 couriers will benefit from the contract.

“Unhealthy competition from low-cost suppliers and so-called platform companies has intensified dramatically,” said Syndicom in a statement. “For example, UberEats recently became active on Swiss soil, disguising its workers as ‘bogus self-employed’.

Uber Eats is an online food ordering and delivery service that started in the United States. Just like the Uber ridesharing platform, which allows people to offer taxi services, Uber Eats‘ employees can pick and choose when they work and get paid per delivery.

The trade union accused Uber Eats of enforcing “precarious working conditions to maximise profits that take advantage of couriers”.

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