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Society

Couriers and Delivery Workers in Greece Stage 24-Hour Walkout

April 12, 2019
ANA

ATHENS – Couriers and delivery workers across Greece are staging rallies and a 24-hour job walkout on April 11, demanding employers provide a corporate motorcycle and protective clothing, recognition for hazardous work, and a unified work description, says the Driver Workers’ Informal Assembly (SVEOD).

A statement by SVEOD says that motorcyclists employed to deliver goods and services are in constant danger, as their workplace is the road, and therefore they are almost always exposed to “poorly maintained roads, constant noise and pollution, adverse weather conditions, often fatal road accidents, muscular and skeletal disorders and anxiety.”

The main issue, the Assembly said, is the classification of this profession as hazardous, which will allow legislation for higher wages and a lower age of retirement for these drivers. Furthermore, establishing a unified work description would mean couriers and delivery boys are classified as such instead of under arbitrary descriptions like ‘external helpers’, ‘private sector employees’. A unified job description will also mean the protection of the rest of their demands, i.e. claiming a bike, protective clothing, better health insurance, and higher salaries.

The Assembly says that employers should be required by law to provide the basic tool of the job – the bike – and also pay for its maintenance costs. It also says that providing all the necessary safety clothing should come at the employer’s cost – besides a helmet and jacket, it should include, among others, gloves, boots and raincoats with reflectors, as these will reduce injuries and deaths.

“Fifteen delivery boys have died while on the job in the last two years,” Margarita Koutalaki told Athens-Macedonian News Agency, from a Thessaloniki delivery boys support group. She pointed out that part of the reason for the high accident rate in the profession is that “employers force them to work up to 15-hour days, and force them to rush in order to deliver as many orders as possible in their shift.”
Vasilis Kefalas from the Food & Tourism Trade Union at Thessaloniki also voiced support, adding, in statements to Athens-Macedonian News Agency, that collective labor contracts instead of individual agreements, health and safety provisions and compensations for overtime and public holidays are all important demands.

In Athens, the couriers and delivery boys will rally at the Pedion Areos Park at 12:00, and in Thessaloniki at the Egnatia and Agia Sofia corner at 10:30 a.m., with a motorcade following each of the meetings.

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