The suspensions have angered French unions, who believe Uber Eats is deactivating accounts because growth has stalled. “The decision was taken without informing workers,” said Fabian Tosolini, an independent trade union representative representing the French self-employed but not involved in today’s protests. “They woke up and couldn’t connect to the app. Their revenue just stopped.”
This was also the experience of Bassekou Cissoko, whose Uber Eats account was deactivated on July 28, 2022. The courier used someone else’s Italian ID to register to work for Uber Eats in 2019. He said it took Uber two weeks to verify his documents before his application was approved. For the next three years, he said he worked 98 hours a week delivering deliveries for the platform. “During Covid, when everyone was on lockdown to protect themselves from disease, we gave our lives to Uber and our customers,” he said.
Independent union president Thomas Aonzo said many of the disconnected couriers had Italian ID cards that said they could not be used to work outside Italy. But he claims Uber Eats has allowed couriers to create accounts using this type of card since 2018. Italian ID cards are common among asylum seekers in Europe, including those entering the continent by crossing a small stretch of water between North Africa and Italy.
Protests in France highlight tensions between Uber Eats and undocumented workers. Moritz Altenried, a researcher who studies the digital workforce at Humboldt University in Berlin, says delivery apps are often easy to use and available in multiple languages, making them attractive to people who have just arrived in a country and are looking for work. “platform [also] This workforce is needed or they will have a hard time finding workers working in these conditions. “
This isn’t the first time Uber Eats has been accused of exploiting a workforce with few alternatives. In 2020, prosecutors placed Uber Italy under special administration, with court-appointed commissioners overseeing its operations, after the company’s Uber Eats business in the country was found to have been exploited through third-party brokers known as gang leaders Vulnerable migrant workers. The same investigation accused the company of creating an “uncontrolled hiring avalanche” during the pandemic.
Publicly, Uber Eats has long maintained that it will not tolerate undocumented workers.Back in 2019, the company told This New York Times It has 100 employees in France conducting spot checks on couriers’ rights to work in the country. The French government does not appear to be reassured. In March 2022, Uber Eats and three other delivery platforms — Gorillas-owned Frichti, Stuart and Deliveroo — signed an industry charter pledging them to conduct weekly identity checks on couriers. None of the three responded to questions about how many accounts they had deactivated since the charter was signed.
However the union said closing accounts belonging to undocumented workers did not mean they would stop deliveries. “These undocumented immigrants have accounts in their name, usually through Italian residence permits, and they’ll find themselves renting accounts on the black market,” said CLAP President Pimmott, adding that the accounts can be found on Facebook or Snapchat Found above for 600 euros per month.
To properly address the issue, unions and protesters in Paris are calling for the gig economy to be included in France’s “regularization” process – workers who can prove they have worked in France for three years and have 24 payslips can apply to be considered permanent residents . Currently, self-employed people are not eligible, and people who work for Uber Eats and other platforms do not receive official payroll.
According to advocates, formalization would give unlicensed couriers the right to legally work in France, while allowing platforms to get the labor they need. It will also provide security and stability for migrant couriers, Sissoko said. “[I would] To be able to pay taxes and live with dignity like all good citizens of this country. “