Without the right to a quarantine themselves and subject to informality, app delivery riders and drivers are organizing a Brazilian strike set to take place next Wednesday, July 1st. The workers are demanding better work conditions and the suspension of random account suspensions, often done by companies like Rappi, Ifood, Loggi and UberEats.
Deliveryman Mineiro, who is one of the strike’s organizers, explains that beyond the immediate interruption of random suspensions, a minimum flat rate of $0.50 per kilometer is also on their list of demands.
“Our other requests are food assistance, since we have to eat everyday while on the road. Repair assistance, that may be deducted directly from our pay. It’s not every day that we have the money to leave home. Sometime we forego eating in order to fill our tanks,” declares the laborer from São Paulo’s south side, who has been working with delivery apps for three years.
Protective measures against accidents and theft are also on the table.
A recent study undertaken by the Campinas State University (Unicamp) department of labor studies, showed that the coronavirus pandemic has made delivery work even more precarious.
With the rise in demand for home deliveries, they have been working more hours. Costs associated with equipment and protective gear against covid-19 infection, are also weighing more on the pockets of informal laborers.
Given the context, Mineiro celebrates the fact that 98% of delivery workers will take part in next week’s walkout.
“People have to take part because by not ordering anything, they are helping us. There won’t be too many fares on the day and our delivery people won’t deliver anything. We are asking for everybody’s help. Our demand will always be: more respect for our riders (most deliveries in Brazil are done on motorcycles), and asking users not to order anything on the day of the strike”.
What about the customers?
On social media, the delivery men and women are using the hashtag #ApoieoBrequedosApps, to guide the general population on how to show solidarity for the movement and for better working conditions. Check out their tips:
1) Don’t order food on apps
The delivery riders are telling users to take advantage of the strike to cook and focus on home cooked meals. According to them, the companies tend to give away discount coupons on days when workers protest, as tactic to weaken them.
The campaign is asking that on July 1st, people cook their own meals and share a picture of it with the #ApoioBrequedosApps hashtag. If it is really necessary, they recommend that meals be bought directly at the restaurant of choice.
2) Give the apps negative reviews
The second way to help with the mobilization is to go into the app store of your smartphone, like Google Play or the Apple Store, and negatively rate the delivery apps with the lowest score possible. The delivery workers also suggest posting comments in support of the strike on these same app stores, to raise awareness of the protest.
3) Help spread the word
Laborers also point out that another essential way to support them is by sharing materials about the walkout as much as possible.
A passenger driver that has been working with Uber for almost a year, who prefers not to be identified out of fear of retaliation, supports the delivery riders strike. He believes that, even with their different roles, they both suffer from precarious working conditions.
“We belong to different service categories, however, we all have the same goals. Economic independence, assurances for our health and our safety. To go back home in one piece. They are principles fundamental to keeping things up and running, including in the workplace. If the all the apps don’t offer the minimum to those working for them, we need to take it to the streets,” he says.
The driver thinks that it’s necessary for society to show compassion towards the strike and support for the improvement of the lives of app delivery people.
“I don’t think anyone knows how hard things are for the poorest and humblest. Putting yourself in someone else’s shows is never easy, it’s hard for everybody, especially at a moment like this, at the height of a pandemic. So support, but most of all understanding the causes others are fighting for is of utmost importance,” he defends.