28 de enero de 2020
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Hispanic World

Delivery workers unite to protect themselves from Mexico City dangers

By Zoilo Carrillo

By Zoilo Carrillo

Mexico City, Aug 16 (efe-epa).- Traffic accidents not always covered by insurance, armed robbery and even sexual harassment are dangers that Mexico City's delivery workers face every day, and are some of the reasons they have now joined forces to guarantee their own safety.

As some of the delivery workers for Rappi, UberEats and Cornershop told EFE, to do their job in this big city takes guts.

"You go into the streets and then fight your way back home. Drivers of all kinds of vehicles, the government and the authorities in general really don't care about us," Saul Gomez said.

He belongs to the organization #NiunRepartidorMenos - which means #Not One Less Delivery Worker - established several months ago and which now has 1,200 members nationwide.

Though the companies employing them tell the workers they are free to set their own schedules, for many the workday begins at 9:00 am and ends at 11:00 pm.

On a good day they take home some 500 pesos ($25).

When they leave home, members of the organization carry tools they call their "logbook of war" and the "fraud map."

Several groups also take to social networks in order to post hundreds of messages a day: bits of advice, warnings, pleas for help and anecdotes about deliveries.

According to Saul, taxi and bus drivers "have fun" running their vehicles as close a possible to delivery workers on bicycles, as most of them are.

Sometimes it happens that one is hit from behind. In such cases, whether or not the company will pay for the medical expenses is like flipping a coin.

"Applications for compensation go through a refund system. We don't have a social benefit as such," Saul said.

So that compensation is forthcoming for medical expenses, delivery workers must fulfill the required "terms and conditions": they must be signed up for the plan, have good reports from customers and no negative episodes on their resumes.

On Thursday, the director of Rappi Mexico, Alejandro Solis, told EFE during a press conference that its delivery personnel "have ample insurance coverage that includes harm to third parties and any harm to themselves."

It can sometimes happen that a delivery worker fails to apply for the plan but an accident occurs. In that case, he or she is not covered.

Brian Estrada, who has been a deliveryman for three years in Mexico City, told EFE about an accident he had when he crashed into a car.

"I suffered a loss of memory, my broken glasses were stuck in my face, I lost six teeth, I had serious injuries to a knee and a shoulder," he recalled.

Brian's medical expenses were not covered.

He never sued the company, because right then he was more concerned about his physical recovery that getting mixed up in a lawsuit.

Even so, he continues to work as a deliveryman and took the accident as just part of the job. That, after all, is what pays for his studies.

The #NiunRepartidorMenos collective was started following the death of an UberEats delivery worker late last year.

Besides the record of accidents and obstructions, there also exists a "fraud map."

Its creator, Antonio Moreno, told EFE that it shows the "hot spots" in the city where delivery workers have suffered robbery attempts, not only by criminals but also by customers.

"Many customers place their orders to be paid in cash on delivery - then they say, you know what? I paid with a credit card. So the delivery worker calls the office and the customer makes off with the goods because he supposedly paid with a credit card. So it's the delivery worker who ends up paying for the goods. There are some tricky people who commit fraud like that," the young man said.

Added to that are the chances of sexual harassment. Estephanie Rojas told EFE that up to now she has had six reports of deliverywomen being harassed in recent months.

On several occasions a customer has greeted a deliverywoman in his underwear. The watchman of a condominium once forced Estephanie into the corner of an elevator.

Luckily, she got away with no harm done. EFE-EPA zch/cd

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