Last week, QA Courier, a bike courier company in Montreal fired five of its six bike couriers for walking off the job. The couriers refused to work because a winter storm, which dropped 40 cm of snow on the city, made their working conditions unsafe.
The Canadian Union of Postal Workers, and its 50,000 members, stand in solidarity with these five couriers.
The couriers currently work as contractors on commission and although they uniquely work for QA Courier, they are not considered employees, and therefore do not enjoy any of the privileges held by employees, including the right to refuse work, sick leave, vacation and benefits. They must also pay for bike maintenance and repairs from their own pockets.
These workers ride an average of 50 to 75 km a day, braving Montreal traffic and extreme weather, without any of the safeguards and benefits of salaried employees. All they want is to be recognized as employees and be treated with respect.
The mail and parcel industry is thriving but at what cost? Postal workers understand all too well how it feels to be treated like machines instead of humans by their employer. We understand working for an employer who values profits over the health and safety of its workers. We walk the same snowy streets and face the same extreme weather conditions as these bike couriers and know first-hand how unsafe the conditions can be.
We will stand with these five workers as they not only fight for their rights but those of all bike messengers who will no longer accept to be anything but full-fledge employees.
To better understand the situation, we invite you to read the couriers’ statement below which was originally published on the Montreal Bike Messengers Association page.