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(en) Germany, FAU DRESDEN: Like working, only shittier. Lawsuit against delivery service "Flink" after termination without notice (ca, de, it, pt, tr)[machine translation]

Date Wed, 16 Nov 2022 08:31:04 +0200

We are currently in a labor dispute with the delivery service Flink. One of our members was recently dismissed without notice, against which we have now filed a lawsuit in the labor court. The termination was unlawful, no reasons were given. We require all pay slips that were never given to the colleague, as well as the payment of outstanding holiday entitlements and any outstanding wage payments, as well as a proper job reference. We are only suing for one person here, but we also want to support all drivers to resist the lousy working conditions at Flink in all ways. ---- The company, which was only founded in 2020, is currently the largest third-party delivery service in Europe. The principle: According to advertising, bicycle couriers deliver everyday items directly to consumers within 10 minutes. "Like shopping, only easier". In Dresden, too, there have so far been 4 Flink branches or warehouses, called "hubs". We keep hearing about massive violations of workers' rights. To some, the whole thing is reminiscent of a similar company, Gorillas, which made headlines after drivers went on wildcat strikes over unsustainable working conditions.

Our member started his work at Flink in June 2021 as a working student. There were irregularities in wage payments right from the start, they were often not paid in full and had to be requested later. Despite repeated requests from superiors, fthe colleague was not given access to his payslips, which made it even more difficult to check the salary payments. In 2021, the colleague did not get any vacation, part of which was only granted in the spring of 2022. There were always problems with the digital timekeeping services, sometimes they simply could not be reached, sometimes they were blocked so that colleagues could not see their assigned shifts and thus de facto had no access to their workplace. The superiors reacted slowly and often only in phrases to inquiries. "I will take care of it!" and then silence. Whoever was the "superior" at the time changed often and was not transparent. In September, our member was injured in an accident at work and shortly thereafter was dismissed without notice. We then filed an action for protection against unfair dismissal against Flink at the Dresden labor court. The quality appointment will take place in November, we will let you know when we have the exact date.

Dresden Flink-Riders organized by us have to deal with so many grievances that they neither fit into a court case nor into a clear text: Occupational safety is inadequate (e.g. in extreme weather). The weight of overweight backpacks is not checked by default. Availabilities are often not taken into account when allocating shifts. The break room is a closet with unhygienic furnishings. In the past, terminations were sometimes completely informal and without notice. As is often the case in the gig economy, the operational risk is shifted to the employees: if there are not enough orders, you simply have fewer hours and less money. Contractually agreed hours are not adhered to, so that wage theft takes place here on a huge scale.
Overall, Flink takes advantage of the racism in our society: the company employs many migrants and exploits their dependencies and specific vulnerabilities. They often do not know German labor law, language barriers play a role. Emails are often in English, but the laws that require posting are only in German. It seems like Flink always tries to be bold or illegal first and tries to get away with it. Unfortunately, that often works, because many are afraid to say something. It's not just a matter of financial existence: they don't want to/can't jeopardize their employment and their residence status, which is often linked to it. Also for the sake of our colleagues, our member decided that we would go to court.

The working conditions of the riders at Flink are examples of the precarious work in the brave new digital world of startups. Unfortunately, this court case is not about the major improvements for all workers, it is "only" about compliance with existing labor law standards: bosses cannot simply do what they want. Working hours have to be paid, we are also entitled to vacation as working students and in mini-jobs, clear criteria have to be met for termination without notice, and so on. The judicial route is a strategy to reclaim the meager rights that labor movements have historically won. We won't let that be taken lightly.
But it is much more important that we organize ourselves, in our companies, as well as across companies and industries. That we take away the fear of saying no together by supporting each other. Because together we can inform ourselves about our rights, claim them every day, and absorb ourselves in financial and personal crises. So we no longer have to put up with everything from the boss or the clerk. Because we are not satisfied with individual court cases, but rehearse a solidary, self-governing world in which there is no place for exploitation and domination.

We look forward to your interest and your solidarity with the conciliation negotiations at the Dresden Labor Court - stay tuned for the date.
The delivery start-ups have done their calculations without the drivers, who are becoming better and better networked and also organized in unions.
We are anything but helplessly at the mercy of these conditions.

P.s.: If you still order something from Flink, then talk to the riders about their working conditions and that they don't have to be alone if they resist it.

Also read: Working at the Flink delivery service: Drivers report
or in the English original: Working at Flink delivery service: Riders' experiences


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