The dissatisfaction of the Gorilla carriers in Berlin began in February 2021. In the extreme cold, riders in the city said they did not have the equipment to achieve their 10-minute goal of bringing things to the snowy roads. That complaint led to the creation of Gorilla Workers Collective, a team that prepared riders to deal with other challenges, from accidents that occur as a result of cracked ebikes (provided by Gorillas) to bag weight and payment problems such as delays or incorrect payments. “It seemed cruel,” says Oğuz Alyanak, senior German researcher for the Fairwork Foundation, a project from the Oxford Internet Institute that oversees multidisciplinary operations in platform companies. “When I went to the demonstrations and started hanging out with the riders, I realized there were a variety of problems here.” A Gorilla spokesman said the safety of riders was paramount, that the bike was professionally maintained, and that it was upgrading its riding equipment. “As with most large companies with employees, there are occasional payoffs. However, this comes at a lower level, ”he added.
Gorillas express themselves in a way that people see as another way to change the wealth of the gig, says Alyanak. “But when it comes to the actual work that has been done or the problems that employees face, there is nothing more.” Instead they are forced to participate in a market full of delivery programs, competing in the market with Lieferando, Wolt, and Uber Eats, among others. The competition means riders are being forced to achieve Gorilla goals by 10 minutes, according to Bernd Kasparek, a researcher at Humboldt University in Berlin who focuses on work, housing, and health in migrant areas. But the way the Gorillas behaved also meant that the disgusted riders had a place to hold their warehouse meetings, where they went to collect orders. “People would stay even if they changed and sat in front of the warehouse, socializing with others,” says Kasparek. “That’s why it was so good at the repair.”
When the riders began organizing the work in June, their relationship with the supervisors deteriorated. According to Gorillas insider, who asked not to be named because he was not allowed to speak on behalf of the company, there was a perception that the corporation could “destroy” the company. Managers fear that it could be controlled by so-called “business haters” who have made what they call “irrational” payments such as a € 20 ($ 22) paycheck. Yasha, a member of the Gorillas Workers Collective who declined to share her name because she did not want to jeopardize future work opportunities, said her pay was around € 18 ($ 20), money she said was “not.” completely illegitimate. ” Yasha also argued that the protesters were anti-business: “If the form of the protest was anti-business, why not ask for an hour’s pay and not a business [government takeover] of a company? ”
In order for the Works Council to be implemented, an election had to be convened to nominate candidates for the electoral council. The election was held on June 3 and, under German labor laws, anyone could participate except for supervisors and people who had the power to hire or fire. But when the staff at the headquarters came, around 50 people was chased away, a Gorilla spokesman told Capital at the time. “Most of the staff at the head office who came were rejected,” says Yasha. The Gorillas Workers Collective requested a job description for those who wanted to attend the meeting in advance, adding, in order to prevent those in charge. “If the Gorillas did this, there would be chaos,” Yasha adds.