When the platform first arrived in Austria in the autumn of 2015, most couriers were directly employed under traditional contracts of service.
As a result, the platform’s workforce felt closely involved in the operations of the company, and enjoyed perks such as access to a local garage which served as a place to look after each other’s’ bikes and meet before and after work. Sometime later, however, workers began to notice significant changes: permanent staff were dismissed, others reclassified as independent contractors; the garage was shut and communications began to break down.
It was in direct response to these changes that the couriers began to organise collectively, leading to the election of a works council (‘Betriebsrat’) to (re-) engage with their employer.
A similar works council is in place for Foodora’s workers in Cologne, Germany.