You may think our working conditions are quite alright, because the money is alright, what is there to ask more from a job, than some good money. If the money is not good enough, maybe you have to work more, or maybe it’s because of this goddamn restaurants letting you wait and the too long distances take too much time, which decreases your hourly wage in the end of the month. That’s just part of the job, you have good days and bad days. Only if the money is not punctual, then you get angry about the company.
You may think life could always be worse, and compared to many others in this time, life is good, so why bother about problems you alone can not change. Maybe you don’t realize that you are not alone, that’s why you forget to greet your colleagues on the street.
You may think you won’t do this job forever anyway, you don’t identify with it. It is just a job created for people who need some bridge-over income, and you will find what my mother calls “a real job” eventually. So why bother. It’s good that these jobs exist, it’s easy to get, easy to earn, and for a while some groups of people depend on it because they wouldn’t find a better job so easily.
That is all good and totally legit, when living in the present. And as bike messengers we have to live in the present. We can’t be upset about some situation we had 2 crossroads ago and we can’t get caught up in thoughts about an ex while rushing along through busy traffic to get all the green or not so green lights. It is a fun and often dangerous job, and we love it. But just as in traffic, life works better and more fluent for all of us when, we not only look ahead and out for ourselves, but as well for each other.
Many of us are students. Cycling is fun, we get to do some physical exercise and earn money at the same time, plus we are super flexible in your schedule. That’s ideal! Some of us may also like to consider ourselves apolitical, because the system fits for us, and everything else is just unnecessarily complicated matter.
Another lot of us are migrants, fed up with the labour market being hard on us, from the moment we write down our names in some form or letter. All we need is a proper bike to ride as much as we can, then we can forget all our troubles and work our asses of for a fantastic income now and a brighter future later. We are here for the money, so working up to 70 hours is no problem. The traffic following us in our dreams is not all enjoyable, and after a while constant exhaustion becomes normal to us, but what else is there in this country for us? Some of us may also claim to be apolitcial, because we have too much to lose, and we have learned that speaking up or taking sides is dangerous.
How many of us are artists and musicians, or other kinds of creators who just need some stability while working on different amazing projects?
How many of us are highly qualified in other fields or used to be in way more prestigious jobs, but needed to get out for diverse reasons?
How many of us are delivering food because we lost our job due to the pandemic?
How many of us are actually unemployed or in a sabbatical, Bildungskarenz maybe, and just do this to earn a bit extra, while getting AMS money?
How many of us broke up their studies or school or how many even graduated with a Master’s degree, but can’t find a better job?
How many of us have a different job and chose to deliver food in the evening or weekend for an additional income?
How many retirees are actually in this job, to keep fit and have a bit of income next to pension?
How many of us do this as their main job but will sure want something more stable at some point?
And how many of us belong to more than one of these groups? More than 2? More than 3?
We are a lot of different people, but in the end we all landed in this job, as we don’t mind physical work in fresh air in any weather and we need to make a living somehow. Nobody of us does it just for fun, nobody of us doesn’t care when the salary is late again, and nobody will be young, fit and healthy forever. We all are looking into an actually quite insecure future. We are all here working and paying our bills, paying for this system in one way or another, which leaves us this job as the lesser evil.
Looking into the future, we all have enough to lose. It is a fun but dangerous job and anything can happen any day. Accident, severely injured, can’t cycle again or can’t play drums again, or have to pause life and plans for about half a year – without income. Or some of us may crush into a car, it might be their own fault, but how to pay for court costs or the caused damage? Imagine in 5 years we want to look for a better, less stressful and more stable job, and then we see that working conditions are nowhere better anymore, as stable and healthy job positions and social benefits have become rare. Too many people accepted independent contracts on various platforms, because they fancied flexiblity and now work for very cheap. As their own boss or their own slave?
Now imagine, how would our future be, what could we achieve, if we all were united?
How would we work, if we would have a say? How would all these crises – pandemic, economic, climatic/ environmental crises turn out, if we would organize to one labour force, fighting for a better future for all of us?
If you want to give it a shot, join the union and join the Riders Collective!