Berlin, 08.07.2021 – We, workers in Gorillas, consider the press release from the company titled Leichtere Rucksäcke und mehr – Gorillas setzt erste Maßnahmen für FahrerInnen um and released on 07.07.2021 as another insult towards not only the public but also towards the workers. Those who’ve reproduced it without critique and without asking the workers, especially those who’ve been in the company for longer, for their view on the matter only joined in the grotesque spectacle this company tries to put on. The
stance so far has been to present existing problems or botched solutions as real improvements. We’ll exemplify this with some points.
The company claims to have made the conscious move away from the gig economy and offer a work contract instead of the freelance status that „other companies“ offer. That is misleading to say the least! Those „other companies“ Gorillas refers to are outside of Germany where labor regulations are not yet at the standards that workers created here!
Standards that are now imposed by German law after court struggles like the former CEO of Deliveroo was involved in. The same person who then came then held an intermittent role as COO in Gorillas.
The company claims to provide electric bicycles and full equipment free of charge. By law, the employer must provide its workers with all equipment necessary to perform their duties. Gorillas does not even meet the bare minimum, since backpacks, helmets and rain gear are shared, remain in the warehouses after the shift and are rarely if ever cleaned. Despite the wear and tear, they are not replaced or fixed and are totally unhygienic. Moreover, Gorillas does not provide footwear, summer wear, phone holders vital for safe work and work phones among other tools necessary for work. In many warehouses, the bicycles used are legally unsuitable for delivery work and are in a state of neglect. Many models only have one front brake and one reverse pedal brake and are responsible for creating very dangerous situations at work. Most if not all bicycle models used have no suspensions. To put things into perspective, In the last week alone, there were three hospital-level accidents at the Bergmannkiez Warehouse with two of them happening within the same evening caused by unsuitable bikes. Accidents on bikes are a very regular occurrence and can be prevented by providing proper training to the workers and servicing bikes regularly.
There is absolutely no equipment provided for the warehouse staff, many of whom have been demanding appropriate gloves, shoes, clothing, belts and more for a long time.
Gorillas claims that some miraculous app tweak will change all the issues that workers faced when carrying their backpacks. Again, this is misleading since they fully ignore the demands of workers to be given the option to remove those backpacks from the workers‘ backs. The repeated impact of glass bottles against the spine has chronic effects on the backs of workers. A reality that the company knows of and is happy to outsource the costs to the German State or the states from where the workers come from and which will have to pick up the medical bills for these disabled people. And the solution Gorillas parades? A months old, almost invisible feature that not only is not accurate but also not used in the warehouses. The objective measure of having backpacks weighed with scales on the tables, so that the limit of 10kg is not exceeded is entirely ignored. Moreover, as we have learned from many months of experience, there is a major gap between policy creation and implementation, the reason being that there is a clear lack of mechanisms to ensure accountability on the warehouse level.
Furthermore, in the press release, Gorillas claims that the company provides smaller backpacks. These smaller backpacks are, however, not waterproof and gain weight when soaked in water on rainy days.
- Unlike what the press release states, all payment issues related to the past month were not solved. There are many workers who are still missing important parts of their salary despite communicating their problems to those responsible. Proof is readily available.
- While the team responsible for riders‘ questions has doubled, this has in no way improved the quality of the support. From a rider’s perspective, it appears that the said team does not receive appropriate legal training. The only channel of communication is by email. Despite numerous requests spanning months, a direct phone line to facilitate communication is not provided.
- Gorillas promises to increase the possible tipping amount. The question should rather be why Gorillas is limiting potential tips in the first place.
- Payslips can only be accessed on computers. Many workers do not have everyday access to computers. Thus, the company requires workers to have access to expensive tools without providing any facilities.
- Using a PR trick, Gorillas offers some benefits to a small percentage of warehouses while others don’t have them, which then allows them to claim they do that certain thing across the board, “forgetting” to mention it’s not a general rule (like giving a proper kitchen area, which only Neu Köln has or good bikes which again only the new warehouse has).
Please note that the above points constitute only a few of our grievances as workers at Gorillas. A list of demands was created by an assembly of Gorillas workers present at the protest at Schönhauser Allee 180 in Berlin on Monday, June 28, 2021. The list of demands was handed in person to management during the protest. We provided the management with the deadline of July 14, 2021 to fulfill the 19 demands listed.
Telegram channel: https://kutt.it/gorillas
Gorillas Workers‘ Collective
For reference, the 19 demands created at the Workers' Assembly we're referring to are accessible below. (3/3) pic.twitter.com/EzyeBd6gQc
— Gorillas Workers Collective (@GorillasWorkers) July 8, 2021