Motorcycle couriers employed by a subcontracted courier company that partners with Getir, one of Turkey’s prominent online delivery firms, have taken to the streets to protest against low wage increases and unequal pay rates across different regions. The workers organized a convoy, riding their motorcycles to Getir’s headquarters in İstanbul.
The Tourism, Entertainment, and Service Workers Union (TEHİS) has reported that one of the managers of Vigo, the subcontracted company, allegedly threatened the protesting workers and even dismissed an employee. TEHİS and the workers have presented a list of demands, which includes an increase in the hourly wage to 75 Turkish Lira (approximately $1) and an increase in the per-delivery payment to 30 Turkish Lira.
Their demands also encompass the elimination of wage disparities between different regions, the removal of adjustment deductions, an end to unfair deductions falsely attributed to missing materials, and job security for the motorcyclists participating in the protest.
Worker activism among delivery workers in Turkey has gained momentum with the rise of online delivery companies during the Covid-19 pandemic. Various delivery workers have staged protests, including work stoppages and slowdowns, to address concerns related to job security, improved wages, and better working conditions.
Tragically, at least 58 motorcycle couriers lost their lives on the job last year in Turkey, with 28 of those fatalities occurring in İstanbul, the country’s largest city, according to the Courier Rights Association. The previous year saw at least 30 motorcycle couriers lose their lives in work-related accidents.
The protests by motorcycle couriers shed light on the pressing issues faced by workers in the gig economy, particularly in the delivery sector. As the demand for online delivery services continues to rise, it is crucial for companies to address the concerns of their workers and strive for fair wages, safe working conditions, and adequate job security.