“Deliveroo’s behavior is not compatible with the 21st century” – Interview with Gilles Vanden Burre

Gilles Vanden Burre is a Federal Member of the Parliament from the Écolo political party. While the Deliveroo deliverers have been striking over the last couple of weeks –  in order to protest against the working conditions the multinational company imposes – Mr. Vanden Burre has actively called for decent working conditions. He shared his views with Brussels Express on this social crisis.

Gilles Vanden Burre

What do you feel with regard to the current crisis at Deliveroo?

Deliveroo has recently set up several new conditions for the deliverers who work for them: 7.25€ gross per delivery, without any work insurance nor minimum hourly wage. This behavior is not compatible with the 21st century. These working conditions mainly apply to young people who are getting their first professional experience. It is not a sustainable job creation, and we do not wish to hand down this model of society to our children.

But the “uberisation” of our economies is here to stay…

When new economic models or shared platforms make employment more precarious in order to guarantee company’s profit,  the conclusion can only be social and economic regression. We think the economic and technological innovations are an opportunity, only if there is an added-value for the whole society and it does not impact workers and employment quality. This last point is crucial.

What’s your proposal?

We clearly must regulate these sectors to set up and apply decent working conditions for the statute of the workers (employees, freelancers, complementary freelancers), whether local or international.

As the “low-cost” systems are growing at a large scale in most of the sectors, the debate is also about making the consumer more responsible?

It is actually important. Companies which do not comply with clear ethical rules, in terms of working conditions, pollution or treatment of human beings, should be denounced by the consumers. It is indeed a very effective lobbying instrument.

Should we legislate? If so, which level could be relevant?

New legislation is necessary. I think the EU level is obviously the most relevant one, in order to get a harmonized, coherent and stronger rules with regard to working conditions. It is also the most relevant level to frame these new economic models which lie within this digital transition.

But as it will be a very challenge to get a political agreement at the EU level over the next couple of years, it is important to act at the national level today, instead of waiting for a potential EU directive.