Uber Eats Couriers Outsourcing Deliveries and Pocketing the Cash

Couriers in France are exploiting teens and migrants who will work long hours for little pay

Uber Eats couriers are passing off the work and keeping the pay
Uber Eats couriers are passing off the work and keeping the pay
Matthew Horwood/Getty Images
By Kayla Kibbe / June 18, 2019 10:16 am

Uber Eats couriers in France are getting crafty, illegally passing off the low-paid gig to even lower-paid laborers and keeping a majority of the profits.

According to the New York Times, these couriers are using apps like Facebook and WhatsApp to rent out their accounts to workers who are willing to work for a fraction of the already low wages, especially teens and undocumented immigrants. The couriers reportedly take a hefty cut of the earnings, frequently pocketing between 30 and 50 percent of the day’s pay.

“I’m doing this because I have to eat,” said Aymen Arfaoui, an 18-year-old in Paris who told the Times he would only take home about half the day’s profits for his deliveries. The migrant teen said he owed the rest to the French courier who had illicitly outsourced the gig.

Food delivery services have grown in popularity throughout France since Deliveroo first launched in the country in 2015, quickly followed by Uber Eats and other services. The gig attracted thousands of workers, but couriers now complain that pay has gotten worse, leading to an uptick in illicit outsourcing to even less advantaged workers.

“These jobs have become more precarious,” said Jean-Daniel Zamor, president of the Independent Deliverymen’s Collective in Paris, a group that works on labor issues for couriers. “The fact that there is less money from the platforms has pushed poor people to outsource to people even poorer than them.”

Delivery services have maintained they do not support the practice. Deliveroo released a statement saying they have “a zero-tolerance approach on this matter” and took it “extremely seriously, including fully investigating any concerns that may arise.”

According to the Times, the illicit practice is booming in France thanks to the country’s growing population of migrants fleeing Africa and the Middle East who can’t be employed while the government reviews their cases. As Eater noted, there’s little to prevent a similar practice from gaining traction in the United States as well, where there is also a growing gig economy and a large undocumented workforce.

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