DGB chairwoman Doro Zinke likes it practical: when companies like delivery services fail to pay the minimum wage, she draws consequences.
It’s often a lot of stairs they have to climb: Food delivery driver at work in Berlin Photo: dpa
site: Ms. Zinke, do I create valuable jobs when I order from delivery services like Deliveroo and Foodora?
Doro Zinke: So far, we know very little about working conditions; the business model is too new for that. Theoretically, Verdi would be responsible here, but the people are not yet unionized. Perhaps this article will tell us more. My request to readers: Next time you order food, just ask the driver what he earns as a fixed hourly wage. And then report it to us.
I can already tell you that the drivers at one of the major providers are paid an hourly wage of 7.50 euros.
I can tell you right now: That’s not only not a valuable job. It’s illegal. The statutory minimum wage is 8.50 euros.
The drivers still get at least one euro extra per delivery.
But only the fixed hourly wage counts. Such bonuses are also rather critical. Remember the truck drivers who used to get paid mileage bonuses. There is a great danger that rest periods will not be observed.
But hand on heart, it doesn’t look any better with pay in the entire restaurant industry, does it?
There are solid companies in every industry. But especially in the hotel industry, in gastronomy, in construction and in transportation, there are windy representatives. In the catering industry, the minimum wage is circumvented time and again by not writing down times or by counting tips towards wages. That is absolutely illegal.
62, has been Chairwoman of the German Trade Union Federation (DGB) Berlin-Brandenburg since 2010.
I understand the demand for wages that finance a reasonable pension. But delivery services like Deliveroo and Foodora mainly employ students and people who have just arrived in Berlin with little knowledge of German. They’re happy to have jobs like that.
And where do we draw the line? When the student has finished his studies and the migrant knows better German, then he has to look for a new job? That is unrealistic.
Have you never worked for little money?
Of course. I had a cleaning job in a private household while I was studying. I was glad that there was always something to eat there, because then I didn’t have to buy anything. But the times were different. Back then, you could be relatively sure of earning better after graduation. Today, people stay in such precarious jobs for years. Especially in Berlin. They then become top-up workers, and that means low wages are financed with public money.
And what if the business model for delivery services is only profitable if they pay so little?
I think that’s nonsense. These delivery services are booming, after all. My recommendation to employers is to get together and sign a collective agreement. Then everyone will be held to the same standard and there will be no price war over wage costs.
Who punishes violations of the minimum wage?
The Financial Investigation Office for Clandestine Employment. You can report it there and they will check it out. Unfortunately, no employee gets more money from this alone. At the moment, each individual has to sue for payment of the statutory minimum wage. We advocate a right of action for associations, as is customary in other countries. Then we as the DGB can file a complaint.
If you read in the taz that a certain delivery service only pays its drivers 7.50 euros an hour, do you report it to the financial control authorities?
Yes, that’s what I would do. I don’t like it when unions just complain. The whole thing has to become practical, too.
This text is part of the weekend focus in taz.berlin on delivery services. It also includes an essay and a report. In your mailbox and on newsstands from Saturday.