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Canadian bike and car couriers from Foodora – an international, app-based company that facilitates online food ordering and delivery – have announced plans to unionise with the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW).

Foodora has operations in cities across Canada, with Toronto being their largest Canadian market. Foodora charges restaurants 30 % per order and only pays their couriers $1/km travelled from the restaurant to the customer’s door. The couriers receive $4.50 per order paid directly by the customers.

“What we want is simple and achievable,” says Hunter Sanassian, a bike courier, “We work in some of the most dangerous conditions in the city. Many of us have been injured on the job. All we want is to be respected as workers and paid fairly by this profitable company.”

While Foodora controls much of the couriers’ work, it classifies couriers as ‘independent contractors’ effectively removing any legal labour protections including, sick days, and guaranteed income.

“As the gig economy grows we are seeing workers who are entirely unprotected,” says Mike Palecek, CUPW National President. “Now is the time to win rights and protections for these workers. The campaign to unionise Foodora couriers will set important precedents for labour rights. Couriers are not machines and they deserve to feel safe and respected at work.”

Speaking on May Day Cornelia Broos, Head of UNI Post&Logistics said: “Today is a day of international worker solidarity, and we are standing with the CUPW and Foodora workers in their fight for better conditions and against precarious employment,”

“Their effort to stop the erosion of basic labour protections is an important struggle in Toronto and beyond.”