Foodora is a company founded in 2014 in Germany that specialises in food delivery by bike, moped and car. The company is now established in 19 countries in North America, Europe and Asia. Foodora has also previously been active in Australia and the Netherlands, but has as of today ceased business there.
The hourly wage on week days was reported in 2017 by Breakit to be 70 Swedish crowns (SEK) per hour, plus 20 SEK per finished delivery, while the compensation on weekends is completely based on provision, at 75 SEK per delivery. According to one bike deliverer that was interviewed in Stockholm Direkt, a single person can finish about three deliveries per hour. The workers compete with each other for the deliveries. Since making fewer deliveries means lower wages, the hourly wage can fall to 100 SEK/hour. For comparison, bike deliverers with collective bargaining agreements have a minimum wage of 130 SEK/hour.
The couriers work scheduled shifts where one shift is 5 hours long. Foodora claims that working as a courier should be seen as a sidejob, but according to one of the Foodora couriers there are a lot of people doing it full-time, and as their only source of income. The couriers have contracts that classify them as subcontractors for about 3 months at a time, but are still not seen as employees.
A central part of Foodora’s business model is that the company doesn’t supply any equipment needed for the work. Instead this responsibility falls onto the workers themselves, for example, the acquisition of a bicycle, as well as its maintanence. For a long time the company refused to pay for safety equipment such as winter tires, but had to cave in in the end after a decision made by the Swedish Work Environment Authority.
Foodora has been heavily criticized both by labour unions and the Swedish Work Environment Authority for poor working conditions that have resulted in serious injuries for the couriers.
The couriers are not acknowledged as employees by Foodora, despite a court ruling in Australia in 2018 where one former courier received compensation after being fired on charges of “agitation” against Foodora’s working conditions. The legal battle was based on the claims of couriers and Australian labour unions that the company exploits their workers by hiring them as freelancers rather than employees, despite the labour resembling employed work.
As freelancers the workers have missed out on the wages, insurances and rights that would come with employment. When one courier got into a traffic accident and injured himself during work, he received no compensation from Foodora, since the company claimed that because the courier wasn’t an employee they were not responsible. When Foodora ceased business in Australia they left a lot of couriers without pay, an amount estimated to be 5,5 million Australian dollars (AUD) in total, and unpaid taxes of 3 million AUD. Since Foodora ceased operation in Australia their profits have gone to their mother company Delivery Hero.
Foodora is owned by the mother company Delivery Hero, which in Sweden owns Onlinepizza and Hungrig.se. Delivery hero is in turn owned by Rocket Internet, a venture capitalist corporation that finances start-ups.
Financially, Foodora is running with great losses.