Most Deliveroo workers are not enforcing employment contracts
Despite the FNV's announcement last year that 285 Deliveroo workers would go to court to enforce a permanent employment contract with the meal delivery company, nothing has been done so far. The FNV admits that many people dropped out of the group, according to Trouw.
In recent years, Deliveroo workers won the right to be recognized as employees, instead of freelancers. This meant they would be covered by the collective bargaining agreement for professional goods transport. The FNV successfully argued that Deliveroo's classification of its workers as freelancers was false, since workers are not free to negotiate their contracts or pay, and aren't necessarily able to plan their workdays as they please.
However, going to court to enforce a permanent contract could be daunting to meal deliverers. Many Deliveroo workers are migrants who might not speak Dutch, said researcher Niels van Doorn, and the turnover rate is also high. Some workers might prefer not to have a contract and see the current option as giving them more autonomy, Van Doorn said.
Many meal deliverers might also not know their rights or understand that they can seek help from the trade union. Van Doorn observed this in a WhatsApp group with meal deliverers.
“When the FNV won the lawsuit on appeal, a trade union member in that group asked people to report if they wanted to claim an employment contract," he said. "Well. Just crickets in that group. No one really responded. Although of course they could have clicked on the link without saying anything.”
Deliveroo workers always need to be on call in order not to miss delivery opportunities, but they are not paid for this waiting time. Nor are they paid for the time they spend in restaurants waiting for an order to be prepared. However, many delivery workers see the job as temporary, Van Doorn said. Still others believe they have no better choice.
“Although this is low-paid work, it could be much worse," Van Doorn said. "The deliverers fear that they will be worse off in a slaughterhouse, distribution center or in agriculture and horticulture.”
One delivery worker, however, told Trouw he would be going to court to enforce an employment contract, with the FNV's help. Wouter van der Weerd, 35, is currently registered as a self-employed person working for Deliveroo. Although he enjoys the job, this classification makes no sense to him, he said.
“Deliveroo unilaterally determines what I earn. As a self-employed person you should certainly be able to determine that yourself," he told Trouw. And if a customer is not pleased with his delivery for some reason, Deliveroo can stop him from delivering any more orders by freezing his account.
Van Der Weerd hopes he can build up a pension with the extra security a permanent contract would bring him.