Excerpt from the article in Sésame magazine, by Stéphane Thépot, March 22, 2023
Change of gear
With Jean-Bernard Robillard, a former courier of the Belgian start-up who made a documentary on his activity1, Basile and a handful of delivery men meet at Place de la République in Paris, during the feverish evenings of the Nuit Debout movement (1). From there, they came up with the idea of giving power back to delivery people through cooperatives, with their own algorithm for connecting restaurants and consumers, in the form of free software : it will be
CoopCycle, created in 2017. “It is a political project, a counter-model to prove that uberization is not inevitable ,” claims Basile Mazade-Lecourbe. This federation currently claims the membership of eighty cooperatives in a dozen countries, in Europe as in North America.
In France, CoopCycle supported the structuring of the Montpellier Couriers in 2021. Like other local cooperatives, the company refrains from using scooters and is limited to a five-kilometre radius around partner restaurants. It determines with which establishments it wants or does not want to work. ” It is not forbidden to work with MacDo but, even if it means offering fast food in the name of the principle of reality, we generally prefer to deliver homemade burgers or kebabs,” summarizes the co-president of the association.
“A greater democratization of relations to work and in the distribution of profits“
In Bordeaux, a Delivery House has just been inaugurated on the model of the House of Couriers which already operates in the Barbès district of Paris. A place of rest and support where trade unionists from the CGT and Sud provide assistance to precarious delivery workers from other platforms. ” Sociology has changed, there are more and more undocumented migrants ,” says Basile Mazade Lecourbe. The profession also remains predominantly male. A study carried out among the 650 delivery drivers attending the Maison des coursiers de Paris only identified the… two women!
As for remuneration, at CoopCycle delivery drivers are paid slightly above the minimum wage, says Basile Mazade-Lecourbe, but rarely on full-time permanent contracts. However, he has not given up on his stated goal since he began pedaling to deliver meals: “ to go beyond the salaried service “. In his eyes, the pay slip provides “a basis, a protection ” but the essential for him lies “in a greater democratization of relations to work and in the distribution of profits “.
Examples of cooperatives that are part of Coopcycle: La Pajara (Madrid), Rayon9 (Liège), La Traboulotte (Lyon), Chorlton Bike Deliveries (Manchester), Colibri (Naples): see map. Each cooperative is responsible for its own governance.
The January 2022 Ripess Europe newsletter on collaborative platforms mentioned Coopcycle in its article: Collaborative platforms: towards the commons. A monograph on this initiative can be found in French here.
(1) The Nuit Debout movement is a citizens’ protest movement against the Labour Law, which took place in April 2016 and was characterized by the occupation of squares including the Place de la République in Paris by citizens, organized in committees, to address social problems and find collective solutions, in a philosophy of “ccnvergences of struggles”.