Coursiers Bordelais

Coursiers Bordelais is a cooperative enterprise of workers in the French transport sector. Each cooperator has a voice in decision-making, regardless of his or her share in the capital. It resembles a platform on which requesters can order local deliveries on bikes. The cooperative claims to refuse the exploitation of workers, while at the same time providing fast services for its customers and being profitable. 

 

Scope of the initiative

Coursiers Bordelais unites platform workers in a cooperative to provide bike-delivery services. Coursiers Bordelais largely provide their services to professionals (parcels, flowers, etc.). The dispatcher (changing weekly) assigns the tasks according to the indicated preferred schedule. The bikers then carry out the deliveries respecting the schedule. All decisions (organization, salary, working conditions, etc.) are taken collectively, based on consensus. Coursiers Bordelais is part of CoopCycle and pays a percentage of their revenues to the organisation.

The cooperative puts a strong focus on social and solidarity values, aiming to ensure that all workers are treated fairly and equally. The platform workers are employees of the collective and have a permanent contract. All their revenues contribute to the common budget that is later used to cover common costs and the remainder is shared between employees. Employee salaries consist of two components: a fixed component and a variable component that depends on the individual platform worker’s contribution to the total revenue of the cooperative. All workers receive the legal minimum salary (salaire minimum interprofessionnel de croissance - SMIC), including a minimum of five hours of overtime, adding up to 40 working hours per week. Workers can do additional overtime if work is available. The salary typically varies between EUR 1,220 and EUR 1,400. 80% of the initiative’s revenue is used to finance the salaries of workers. Platform workers in Coursiers Bordelais have full access to social protection (unemployment insurance, sick leave, etc.), paid holidays, professional insurance and other benefits that are guaranteed to all employees in France. Workers have eight weeks of holidays per year, an expense account of EUR 100 per month for biking equipment and EUR 150 to 200 per month of lunch vouchers (depending on the number of days worked).

 

Scale of the initiative

The cooperative consists of 7 platform workers, all based in Bordeaux. Between its introduction in 2017 and July 2021 the workers have carried out 12 480 deliveries.

 

Strengths and weaknesses

Focusing on deliveries for professionals instead of meal delivery is one of the strengths of the initiative. The meal delivery market is very competitive and dominated by large players, who manage to retain very thin margins. This is not possible for small cooperatives. Moreover, the meal delivery market is very dependent on time – most orders happen during lunch or dinner time. This limits the hours worked for the platform worker, resulting in a low salary. Focusing on delivering goods to professionals instead of meal delivery allows riders to work more hours, thus having a higher total monthly salary compared to traditional big meal-delivery platforms, where delivery is usually concentrated around lunch and dinner only.

Another strength of the Coursiers Bordelais initiative is its cooperative status that ensures that workers get social protection, insurance, sick and annual leave etc.

At the same time, the cooperative remains small in scale and has limited growth opportunities linked to lack of access to capital.

Metadata

  • Initiative
  • Organising and representing workers
  • France
  • Worker
  • Yes
  • transport
  • platform cooperatives, representation, industrial relations, social dialogue
  • French
  • 2021
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