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The hour of judgment in France for Deliveroo, suspected of concealed work

It was the first criminal trial in France of “uberization”, it is now the time of the decision for Deliveroo, judged in March for having employed as independent delivery men who should have, according to the prosecution , be salaried. The Paris Criminal Court will make its decision Tuesday at 1:30 p.m.

After a week of trial, the prosecution had requested the maximum penalty of 375,000 euros in fines against Deliveroo France, as well as a one-year suspended prison sentence against two former French managers of the company. . The prosecutor had
“regret” the absence on the bench of the defendants of the American William Shu, big boss of the British company and “unquestionably” at the origin of “system”
which enabled Deliveroo to benefit from “all employer benefits”, “without the inconvenience”.

The ready meal delivery platform is well responsible for“an instrumentalization and a diversion of the regulation of work”with the aim of organizing a
“systemic concealment” jobs for delivery people who should have been salaried and not self-employed, had hammered Céline Ducournau. Mrs. Ducournau had listed at length everything that demonstrated the “directives”, “controls and sanctions” characterizing the employer-employee relationship:
“statistics” on delivery times, detailed training videos, precise rules on how to deliver…

The “fraud” set up had the sole purpose of employing “at a lower cost” its delivery men, and no matter if some are “satisfied” of this status or
“feel free”she pointed out, with reference to one of Deliveroo’s arguments to justify the status of auto-entrepreneur. “It’s not about the trial of poor working conditions”nor that of “consumption patterns of our time”retorted Antonin Lévy, the lawyer for Deliveroo France, for whom the trial sometimes took on the air of “political forum”.

promises of freedom

A dozen delivery men on bicycles or scooters, many now engaged against the “system”had marched to the bar to tell their arrival at Deliveroo, attracted by the promises of “freedom” and of “flexibility” but had discovered the “guerre” to get the best
“slots” schedules, the “pression”the
“surveillance” and Deliveroo’s reprimands. In total, more than a hundred are civil parties to the trial. Deliveroo maintained that it was only “connect” customers, restaurateurs and delivery people, and denial “any relationship of subordination”.

“What is an employee? Someone who chooses whether today he wants to come to work? Someone who can work for your worst competitor? Who can refuse an order? No, it’s not that an employee, there is no relationship of subordination”pleaded Me Lévy for Deliveroo. “Freedom is not the absence of constraints”, he added, asking for release, like the advice of former officials. For the two successive leaders of Deliveroo France over the period concerned, from 2015 to 2017, the prosecutor requested a one-year suspended prison sentence and a fine of 30,000 euros. For a third executive, she requested a four-month suspended prison sentence and a fine of 10,000 euros.

The prosecutor also wanted as an additional sentence
“posting and dissemination” of the court decision, in particular in front of the premises of Deliveroo for two months, as well as on the home page of the site and the mobile application of the platform – a sentence designed for “current workers” of the platform, she said.

Urssaf, the government body responsible for collecting contributions and social security contributions from companies, is demanding 9.7 million euros to make up for the contributions avoided by the use of independent deliverers. Highly contested, the independent status of Uber drivers or Deliveroo couriers is called into question in many countries by the courts or, more rarely, by laws which have prompted certain giants in the sector to propose compromises.

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