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Time for Solidarity: Turkish riders action! Send solidarity photo

Written by Turkish DISK union activist, currently living in Amsterdam and member of Radical Riders.

Turkey welcomed the year 2022 with workers’ protests. It was a wave of strikes caused by increased inflation, currency crisis and cost of living. Workers, who received their first salaries in January or February after the Turkish lira depreciated by 30% against the Euro, were enraged by the high cost of living. Protests were held in many unionized and non-unionized workplaces.

The pick of the strike wave was rider actions. In addition to low wages, the riders complained of poor working conditions and job insecurity. During the pandemic, riders were enslaved while everyone was in quarantine. Moreover, they were prevented from benefiting fundamental workers’ rights through “self-employment”. In The Netherlands this is called ZZP. The Greek dependency of Delivery Hero, e-Food, recently took strike action and demonstrated succesfully against this practice.

Foremost, the self-employed riders at Trendyol.com took action. They won a pay raise after massive protests spread across the country. Some other campaigns have been successful in more companies.

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yemek sepite riders

Finally, workers at Yemek Sepeti, one of the country’s two largest food delivery companies, went on strike. They held demonstrations in several cities, especially in front of the headquarters in Istanbul. Their pink vessels and motorcycles became the icon of the workers’ movement.

The Yemek Sepeti strike became the most important news of the country with the support of customers, and an effective boycott campaign was organized where orders decreased by 70%.

Yemek Sepeti employees started to join unions from the first days of the pandemic. They demanded improvement in working conditions, higher wages and job security. But the company preferred to put pressure on union members rather than discussing problems and demands. Company even changed commercial register to defuse the union. Labour rights were seen as a luxury as Yemek Sepeti multiplied its profits.

Organising solidarity in The Netherlands with the Turkish Riders

The Netherlands is where catering and food rider companies are going around. Moreover, it is the homeland of “bogus self-employment” to seize workers’ rights. You are also used to seeing Turkish rider companies on the streets of the Netherlands. But you probably didn’t know that Yemek Sepeti has a Dutch partner. Yes, it belongs to Germany-based Delivery Hero. But the most significant financial partner is Dutch. This opens the possibility for practical solidarity actions, that we want to organize.

So far, support actions have been taken for Turkish riders in Germany, Italy and Greece. These companies or apps are affiliated with large international companies, and all workers have similar problems. And where our opponents are organised internationally, so must we. The Radical Riders allready work together with German riders. Let’s also join hands with out Turkish siblings, brothers and sisters.

Send in a photo of yourselves with a protestplacard: I support the riders of Yemek Sepite!

We will make sure it gets to the Turkish riders.

Send photo!

gorillas rider solidair met turkije