Rapidly expanding Gorillas Technologies, the Berlin-based grocery delivery start-up, has faced multiple worker strikes and protests in the past month over the termination of certain employees, a lack of suitable equipment and pay discrepancies.
On Saturday, July 17, the Gorillas Workers Collective organized a mobile protest in which employees and activists cycled to three different delivery warehouses, temporarily halting operations at each one.
Gorillas is an app-based delivery company that was founded in Berlin and launched in June 2020. The company succeeded in reaching an estimated valuation of $1 billion (€850 million) in just nine months and hiring 10,000 employees.
The Gorilla Workers Collective began organising in February 2021, when riders were expected to complete deliveries without work-issued winter gear in heavy snow. Many Gorillas warehouses lack cargo bikes, forcing riders to carry large loads of groceries on their backs. Numerous riders have reported back injuries after working for the company for six months or more.
Protests were escalated in June when after workers complained that their pay was inaccurate — most saying they were paid less than they were owed. The collective has put together a list of 19 points that they say the company needs to resolve, and the lack of firm action led to the latest protests.
The gig economy in Europe is being scrutinised by the European Commission and no doubt they are aware of these protests, the latest in a catalogue of worker-rights issues within the gig economy. Firms in the UK’s gig economy will also be monitoring these protests, and we will keep you updated of developments.