Steven, a member of the CLAP, a collective of independant riders in Paris, is speaking at the Summer University of the NPA (Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste) in August 2017.
While his colleagues are blocking restaurants in Bordeaux, Lyon, Nantes and Paris, he gives us an overview of the precarious situation of the Deliveroo riders in France. He explains about the difficulties of calling a strike in this sector:
"It is well enough to call a strike, as a precarious driver who is self-employed. We therefore asked ourselves this question: how is it possible to go on strike in this situation? We have made contacts with collectives in Spain and England who already had experiences with striking. In Spain, for example, they had a strike in early June, by and large for the same reasons. They attempted a classic strike: they logged out, and gathered on a square, with flags, with the trade unions, and held speeches. After the speeches, after an hour, all were fired, they could no longer access the app on their phones.
Other modes of protest were more successful, as was shown by the day of action that took place on August 11th in France:
"August 11 was a complete success. Between 75 and 100 riders were at the meeting, plus 300 to 400 supporters, from politics, unionists from SUD and CGT, people from the Front Social, all sorts of people who supported us. We spent an hour talking among ourselves, about our working conditions. After that, we had an unannounced demo to block the restaurants. We went to the restaurants, lighted our lamps and called slogans. We prevent the Deliveroo orders from leaving the restaurant. Until the restaurant owner turns off the Deliveroo app for the evening, that way Deliveroo loses a lot of money. We prevent the riders who are working from picking up their orders. We want them to call the company and say they could do nothing, they were blocked. That means they will still get paid for that trip. Then they can log out and join us. The whole thing was a big success, many people participated, and this happened in a sector which is so precarious and so atomized - many young people from the banlieues, students, in the middle of August. It was a success, and encouraged many of the riders. And it has resulted in collectives being formed in many other cities who are now trying the same thing there."
Transnational actions are also planned from September 27th onwards. On Wednesday 27th, gatherings of riders will take place in Paris and several other French cities, and a demo of precarious workers (under the name "Precarious Workers Strike Back") has been called in London on the same day.