Report. Riders took to the streets throughout the country. With the return of Covid and restaurant closures, their role is again like it was in March: more work and more risk.

Delivery riders in Italy went on strike against ‘fake contracts’

It’s a situation comparable to the referendum organized by Marchionne at the FIAT plant in Pomigliano d’Arco 10 years ago: if you want to keep your job, you have to give up your rights and part of your salary.

And the date chosen is not an accident. It is the same date on which the wage increase provided by the 2019 law would come into force (equivalent to over €10 per hour gross, without performance conditions and with pay increases for night work and bad weather).

For this reason, while pretending to negotiate at the round table convened by the government in order to arrive at a real national contract with all parties involved, Assodelivery has carried out the strategy recommended in October 2019 by labor lawyer Pietro Ichino: to take advantage of the Sacconi rule and sign a company contract in a regime of derogation, with a union of convenience but which is representative for the sector (in this case, UGL, which inherited the members of ANAR, the autonomous association of delivery persons, which always takes positions in accordance with those of the multinationals, with the excuse that they want to remain freelance workers and that being a delivery person is a “side job”).

Thus, the government, the confederal unions and trade unions have all been sidestepped, and now the riders are being forced to sign this contract under blackmail in order to continue to work. The legal complaints filed for extortion (by Comma 2 Lavoro è Dignità) and the lawsuits filed will certainly conclude that they were in the right. But that will only happen in the long timeframes of justice.

The novelty of Friday’s strike, however, lies in the fact that it has been called by both the unions from many Italian cities (Deliverance Milan, Rider Union Bologna, Rider Union Rome) and the confederal unions (NIDIL CGIL, UILTUCS, with the solidarity of Lazio’s FIT CISL): a large and unprecedented alliance that must be highlighted and supported.

In the announcement of the national mobilization, the riders are asking “the users of the apps and the whole world of work to show sympathy with our cause, taking up our appeal not to use home delivery services for the whole day of protest on Friday, October 30. We want real rights, not false contracts!”

Friday the riders took to the streets all over Italy. With the return of the pandemic and restaurant closures, their role is about to become as important as it had been in March. More work, but many more risks, above all that of contagion—as shown by the videos that show them forced to enter the subways and local trains in Milan, full above the 80 percent limit provided by the anti-COVID regulations. The multinationals have absolute need of them, but they are not willing to give them rights and a contract worthy of the name.

How can we help them in this battle for dignity? The boycott is a form of protest little used in Italy, especially by trade unions. It is, however, a tool that can give great results if used with the proper long-term perspective and attention, especially in the context of multinationals, which pay attention to the reactions of their users. For this reason, we at il manifesto—the first to denounce this shameful blackmail—believe it is right to join the boycott. And we invite our readers today not to order food at home using the abovementioned apps. Boycotting them—even if for just one day—is the best way to show that we respect the rights of those who are working and that we are fighting alongside them.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Your weekly briefing of progressive news.

You have Successfully Subscribed!