German delivery company Gorillas faces workers’ strike
Gorillas, the Berlin-based delivery start-up, has experienced a number of strikes and protests from its workers over the past few months over a lack of suitable equipment and pay disputes.
Employees protest against German delivery company
Gorillas Technologies, the parent company of the Berlin-based delivery company Gorillas, has experienced a number of protests and strikes in the past month, as employees fight for suitable working conditions and fair pay.
Founded in Berlin, Gorillas is an app-based delivery company that launched in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic back in June 2020. In just nine months, the company reached an estimated valuation of one billion euros and had hired around 10.000 employees. The company has since been plagued by strikes and protests from its employees, who have complained about workplace conditions and pay discrepancies. "There are a lot of issues," said one Gorillas delivery rider. "The company is expanding so quickly without fixing existing problems."
The recent protests have been organised by the Gorillas Workers Collective. The collective began organising in February, after riders were expected to complete deliveries without suitable protection from the snow. “There were no jackets at that time,” said Jakob Pomeranzed, a member of the collective. “The jackets we got arrived in March and reached all the warehouses by April." Eventually, workers at two warehouses went on strike and, in the following months, a group of employees created the collective. On June 3, 2021, a general assembly was held to elect an electoral council. The electoral council plans to organise elections for a legal workers council.
Protests over pay
The Gorillas Workers Collective organised further protests in June, after hundreds of employees complained that they were not being paid everything they were owed for their labour. "Every month I have been paid less than I'm owed," said one delivery rider. "Last month I was finally paid the 40 hours that I was owed from three months ago."
On June 28, members of the collective and Gorillas employees organised a protest over the pay disputes outside the company’s headquarters at Prenzlauer Berg. Gorillas CEO Kagan Sümer appeared at the protest and addressed the protestors, saying that the company had identified 250 payment issues and promised that they would be resolved quickly. Protestors also demanded better workplace conditions, suitable equipment, and sick pay, among other things. "We are here to listen. We need to keep this communication going," Sümer told the protesters. "And I support that you are here to act."
Following the protest, the Gorillas Workers Collective presented the company with a list of 19 demands. The collective demanded that the company resolve all pay disputes within 48 hours, that riders should be given two consecutive days off per week, and that cargo bikes be provided for delivery riders. Many Gorillas warehouses do not provide cargo bikes for their riders, and many have complained that they have suffered injuries after having to carry heavy loads on their backs.
The Gorillas Workers Collective organised its most recent protest on Saturday, July 17. Employees and activists alike joined the protest and cycled to three different delivery warehouses, halting operations at each one. The collective has since taken to Twitter to call for its 19 demands to be met.