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Gorillas: Food delivery company fires strikers | heise online

The labor dispute at the Berlin delivery service Gorillas escalates. After the workforce had taken strike action again in the past few days, the company dismissed those involved. According to employee representatives, almost all employees at the hit locations are said to have given notice without notice. The company confirms the terminations, but does not go into details. On Wednesday there were again protests in front of the Gorillas headquarters in Berlin.

According to the Gorillas Worker Collective (GWC), which organizes the protest actions, all strike participants at the Berlin locations Bergmannkiez, Gesundbrunnen and Schöneberg were terminated without notice, some of them by telephone. The employee representatives speak of at least 50 layoffs, media reports mention 30. However, insiders expect further layoffs. The strikers demand better working conditions and contracts, they criticize arbitrary management decisions and high workloads.

“Such unannounced and not unionized strikes are legally inadmissible,” a spokesman explained to heise online. “After careful consideration, we are now forced to enforce this legal framework. This means that we will end the employment relationship with those employees who are actively involved in the unauthorized strikes and blockades, who hinder the company with their behavior and thus endanger their colleagues to have.”

Strikes as a means of industrial action are clearly regulated by law in Germany. The unions are allowed to call a strike under certain conditions. So-called “wildcat strikes” without union legitimation are not allowed. Union representatives are on hand to advise the strikers, but at least the gorillas are unionized. “If the strikers were in the union, they wouldn’t have the problem with dismissal,” said a ver.di spokesman for the Tagesschau.

This means that the labor dispute with gorillas will probably go to court again. Some of those affected want to bring action for protection against dismissal, the Gorillas Worker Collective told heise online. While the legal situation with regard to the wildcat strikes is clear and the terminations initially appear to be justified, the court will probably also deal with questions of form – for example whether a termination given by telephone is legally valid.

Some gorillas had already sued before the Berlin labor court that their contracts, which were limited to one year, should not be extended. This also includes employees who want to set up a works council. With the gorillas, the house blessing has been hanging crooked for months: During the preparations for a works council election, there were conflicts with management in the summer, which the strikers accuse of obstructing the establishment of a works council.

Gorillas was founded in 2020 and is considered one of the hottest German startups. The food sector is a billion-dollar market from which, in addition to the large chains, delivery services such as Gorillas or Flink want to take a piece. In a financing round at the beginning of the year, Gorillas collected 240 million euros from investors and is valued as a so-called “unicorn” at around one billion euros. Many of the startup’s employees have a migration background; English is spoken.

Gorillas’ business model is hyper-local food delivery. The startup wants to deliver everyday items to your doorstep in just ten minutes. To this end, the company operates numerous small warehouses in the city, from which the bicycle couriers deliver the orders – and which often cause trouble in the neighborhood. The company is expanding rapidly and is active in numerous German cities as well as in France, Italy, the Netherlands and Great Britain.

The company rejects the strikers’ allegations. “We are always looking for a constructive dialogue with our riders and have already implemented many suggestions for improvement based on their feedback,” explains a spokesman, referring to the measures taken so far. “In order to ensure a positive working environment from which everyone benefits, we have decided to implement further key changes. These included a new bonus system, revised shift planning, new equipment and even more riders to compensate for peak loads.


(vbr)

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