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Federal Labor Court: Delivery service has to provide bicycles and cell phones for “riders”

Delivery services must provide their riders who deliver food for them by bicycle with bicycles and also a mobile phone as work equipment. The Federal Labor Court in Erfurt decided on Wednesday and thus confirmed a judgment of the State Labor Court of Hesse from March 2021. Delivery services can no longer oblige their employees to use their own bikes and smartphones in the general terms and conditions. Deviating contractual regulations are still possible under certain conditions (Ref .: 5 AZR 334/21 and 5 AZR 335/21)

The decision goes back to the complaints of two Lieferando employees who use their own equipment for the deliveries. The so-called riders must, on the one hand, deposit a deposit for equipment such as a transport box or clothing, but on the other hand are obliged to use their own roadworthy bicycles and mobile phones. The drivers received the deployment plans and addresses in the app, which eats up to 2 GB of data volume per month. For bicycle use, they received a credit of 0.25 euros per hour worked for bicycle repairs, to be redeemed at one of the employer’s contractual partners.

While a rider only asked for a mobile phone with an adequate volume of data, the second process also involves a bicycle to be provided. The labor court in Frankfurt had initially dismissed the complaint because the drivers had initially tacitly tolerated the regulation. In the next instance, the regional labor court ruled in March that the regulation unreasonably disadvantages delivery drivers. Operating resources and their costs are to be provided by the employer according to the legal assessment. This means that the delivery service has to make bicycles and smartphones available.

That However, the Federal Labor Court has now rejected Lieferando’s appeal. The delivery service had asserted that the riders would have a bike and an internet-enabled mobile phone anyway and that they would not be significantly burdened by their professional use. Both the Federal Labor Court and the lower instance see it differently: In view of the merit, this “property sacrifice” is already significant.

The Federal Labor Court found that the use of private equipment as agreed in the general terms and conditions is null and void. The clause contradicts “the basic legal concept of the employment relationship”, according to which employers have to “provide the essential work equipment and ensure that it is functional”. The use of bicycles and mobile phones can be regulated in a separate contractual agreement. However, this cannot be done without adequate compensation, for example for repairs that are due or the volume of data used. Riders should also be able to “freely dispose of” such services.

The food-enjoyment-restaurants union (NGG) welcomed the verdict. “This is a strong and groundbreaking signal to create fair and equal working conditions in the industry,” explained NGG Deputy Chairman Freddy Adjan Received voucher. This undermined the hourly wage, which at 10 to 11 euros is only slightly above the statutory minimum wage. ”


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