Gorillas Riders strike again – for necessary equipment and safe working conditions
On Wednesday, warehouses of the delivery service Gorillas were blocked again by its striking riders. The current cause was the lack of weatherproof clothing, which endangers the health of the riders in the pouring Berlin rain in more ways than one.
Despite bad weather, most of the riders at Gorillas are not provided with rain jackets, rain pants or shoe covers. Since the colleagues are fully exposed to the elements in their job on the road, many have had to complete their tours soaking wet in the past few days. In light of the persistently bad weather, it was riders at Warehouse Pankow who stopped work first thing Wednesday morning. A supervisor initially tried to de-escalate and officially shut down operations for a few hours. But since they were not promised better equipment within the next few days and the weather was also miserable on Wednesday afternoon, many colleagues decided to go on strike again to increase the pressure.
In the course of the afternoon, colleagues from Warehouse Kreuzberg in Muskauer Straße joined in. Here, a city manager of the company tried to smooth the waters. But his comment that, as a young company, they still had to learn, seemed like a mockery to the employees – after all, there had already been a first strikes four months ago because the inadequate equipment could not withstand the winter weather.
Instead of making rigorous improvements, Gorillas continues to cut corners. The company promises its customers that every purchase will be delivered within 10 minutes. But providing weatherproof clothing for its own employees seems to be too big a challenge. Some clothing is provided – but only in limited quantities and per location, rather than for each driver. And according to employee reports, the available clothing is hardly ever cleaned.
That the available clothing is often inadequate was sadly confirmed on Thursday morning: A rider from the Pankow warehouse suffered a serious accident because her rain jacket, which was far too large, got caught in her bike when she tried to dismount. She had to be taken to the hospital because of her shoulder injuries.
These and other untenable conditions are what fueled Wednesday’s strike. While three weeks ago the dismissal of colleague Santiago was the straw that broke the camel’s back and caused several wildcat strikes, the strikers‘ demands have since expanded: They are about the long probationary period, unequal pay, overweight backpacks and improper equipment – with regards to clothing as well as to bikes and the essential smartphones.
Their organizing has also made progress: not only have more colleagues been reached and won over for collective action, but more and more often the demands and further actions are discussed and decided at spontaneous meetings during the strikes. For example, the Riders agreed at the strike in Kreuzberg on Wednesday that they would only resume work after getting clear concessions for their immediate demands. After several hours and a videotaped promise of additional equipment by the end of the week, they ended the strike at around 8 pm. But given the track record of such promises by the company and the numerous unresolved issues, further actions can be expected in the coming days.
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