The sling of the little arms of the Tech

There is like a wind of rebellion, an air of "yellow vests" blowing in the ranks of giants of the tech ... At Amazon, Google, Facebook, or the delivery delivery startups like Deliveroo, the end of the year 2018 saw the growth of wage demands. In an attempt to ease tensions, Amazon was the first to make an unprecedented move last October. Regularly singled out for his working conditions, the ogre of e-commerce has increased the base salary for his American employees to 15 dollars an hour (12.90 euros), which is twice the minimum wage in the United States. United States.

The initiative was duplicated in the United Kingdom with a minimum wage of £ 10.50 in London and £ 9.50 in the rest of the country. " These minimum wages will benefit 250,000 employees in the United States [environ un tiers de l'effectif global d'Amazon, principalement des manutentionnaires présents dans les centres de logistique, ndlr] and 17,000 employees in the UK ", Valued the company valued $ 735 billion.

Mandatory extra hours

This gesture by Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world with a personal fortune estimated at 128 billion dollars, is far from being disinterested. The Seattle firm is regularly criticized for the arid working conditions it imposes in its logistics centers - between near-endless performance targets and brutal management. Due to full employment in the United States, Amazon wants to remain attractive while still viewing itself as a model employer. And the timing of the announcement was not left to chance.

This rise in wages occurred at the beginning of the most lucrative period of the year for Amazon: the last quarter, including the promotions of Black Friday, Cyber ​​Monday and the end of the year celebrations. That's six weeks when employees are under constant pressure. The number of packages is such that full-time employees make mandatory overtime Working nearly twelve hours a day, sixty hours a week, reported a survey of Guardian published early December. In parallel, part-time employees are encouraged to perform " as many services as possible ". The workforce is also reinforced by seasonal workers who are paid less and receive no benefit.

Amazon is hunting union members

To defend their rights, attempts to create trade union organizations have multiplied since 2017 in the United States. Last September, the American press revealed a training video addressed to Amazon managers for " identify warning signals And try to stem the creation of trade union organizations. " Our business model relies on speed, innovation and customer obsession - things that are not usually associated with unionism Explained the video. Another means of mobilization: strikes.

At Black Friday last November, work stoppages were held in Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom and Italy. A few days before Christmas, rebels in Germany, where employees of two logistics centers have called for a revaluation of wages and decent working conditions. In the American press, testimonies or calls for the boycott of Amazon flourished during the end-of-year celebrations.

At Google, temporary workers get angry

Revalorization of wages, better consideration ... These claims are also at the heart of the roar of temporary workers at Google. Internally designated by the acronym TVC (time [intérimaires], vendors and contractors), they are second-class employees in the Mountain View firm. Waiters in the cafeterias of the group, cleaning agents of the premises, employees of the call centers, but also video moderators at YouTube, autonomous car testers, executives or managers. So many positions that can be occupied by temporary employees at Google. Their common point? They wear red or green badges to differentiate them from their fellow employees, who display white badges. This simple badge denies them access to certain rooms and meetings, and deprives them of certain rewards.

According to a Bloomberg survey published last July, the number of temporary workers has exceeded that of employees at Google for the first time this year, in twenty years of existence. At the end of the third quarter of 2018, Alphabet (parent company of Google) employed 94,372 direct employees, but the American giant does not communicate the number of its workers in the shadows ... Unlike their fellow employees, temporary workers do not touch not the exorbitant salaries in force in Silicon Valley. Most do not have health insurance, premiums, stock options and paid leave. In her defense, the $ 713-billion-valued company reports in the US press that it uses this underpaid labor to make parental leave replacements or help in times of stress. " CTVs are an important part of our extended workforce, but they are employed by other companies [comme les agences Adecco ou Randstad], not Google ", According to a press release relayed by the Guardian.

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After a demonstration in early December, an open letter was sent in the wake to Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, " from TVCs ". They claim " fair treatment »,« more transparency " and one " structural change Within the company. Temporary employees want to be treated in the same way as direct employees (better wages, paid holidays, sick leave, bonuses ...). " The exclusion of CTVs from a significant portion of internal communication and fair treatment is part of a system of institutional racism, sexism and discrimination They write.

Home meal delivery startups are not left out

" We do essential work - from marketing to managing teams of engineers, to the fact that you and the rest of the Google staff are being fed - all without benefits or recognition. Google can not work without us. A similar sling was also carried out in December by about twenty temporary employees of Filter Digital, a subcontractor of the Facebook division dedicated to virtual reality research. They demanded better working conditions, sick leave, higher wages and transportation aids.

Salary demands also affect startups, particularly home-based meal delivery. The latter are regularly accused of resorting to disguised wage labor by imposing a status of auto-entrepreneur on their fleet of couriers. According to their argument, the status of auto-entrepreneur, who has just celebrated ten years, gives more flexibility to deliverymen by providing them with a " income supplement ", and not a salary. This status allows them to not have to pay paid leave or cover sick leave, or to guarantee no minimum wage ... While imposing certain conditions for the exercise of their work, such as a minimum availability under to incur penalties.

Bike deliverymen clamoring for justice

In 2018, a little background music began to be heard: what if wage-earning was possible for bike delivery? In France, the Court of Cassation has addressed this delicate subject following the prosecution initiated by a former courier of Take Eat Easy, a Belgian start-up specializing in the delivery of bicycle meals, which had suddenly closed down in 2016, leaving 2,500 deliverers on the floor in France.

In a judgment rendered Wednesday, November 28, the Court of Cassation recognized a link of subordination and therefore, the possibility of salary for this former courier. If the decision is yet to be confirmed by a new judgment before the Court of Appeal, a substantive trend seems to emerge at European level. In early November, a similar decision was made in Spain concerning a Deliveroo delivery man.

Read also: Deliveroo, UberEats, Glovo ... On strike, the couriers denounce their precarious status