Delivery workers overworked and underappreciated in times of lockdown

Delivery workers in the Netherlands are having a hard time working under the circumstances of the nationwide lockdown, and now, the mandatory curfew, under which nobody is allowed outside after 21:00. They work fewer hours, while at the same time having to make more deliveries per shift, with many struggling companies not being able to employ more people, with little payoff: customers are also not giving more tips.

Delivery workers are among the few exceptions of people who are allowed to be outside after curfew. This is to allow businesses to stay open and deliver food to those who have to stay at home. It is a lonely job, now that the streets are empty, says delivery worker for Sushi Time in The Hague, Alessandro Cosmo. “It’s empty and cold, and we are being asked to perform very hard physical labor for minimum wage.” Alessandro feels that people don’t realize how hard delivery workers actually work to keep the economy going and people happy during the hard lockdown that the Netherlands is currently in.

Struggling businesses are already having to take extra steps in order to stay afloat, and delivery workers suffer especially from this. “If it weren’t for us, they wouldn’t even be able to be open after nine,” says Cosmo. At Sushi Time, they have had to cut down on employees, causing fewer delivery workers to be working per shift. This means that each worker has to make more deliveries per shift than what they would usually need to do. Meanwhile, people like Alessandro are making fewer hours per week, while having to do double the work.

Naut Kaptijn, who also works for Sushi Time, mentions that it is also increasingly busy before the curfew goes into effect, with people all coming in right before 21:00 to pick up orders. Customers are also not particularly nice, says Naut. “They are super Dutch in that aspect, they might say how nice it is of you to be working in these circumstances, and then they just shut the door in your face.” Naut also says that he only continues to do delivery, because there is nothing else that would hire him. For delivery workers, it can be the only thing they can do to make money.

So, as the lockdown continues, Naut and Alessandro both call out to people to be a little more compassionate with delivery workers. After all, they are essential workers that continue to provide services to keep us all a little more sane in these unprecedented times.

Author: Emma de Ruiter

Emma is Dutch/Portuguese, 21 years old, and currently a Journalism student at the University of Groningen. She has previously obtained her Bachelor's degree in Liberal Arts & Sciences at Leiden University College in The Hague.

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