Nigeria: interview with a delivery worker

The recent period has highlighted a growing necessity for organization within the delivery sector, as workers seek to establish a unified front to address their grievances and advocate for fair labor conditions. In this interview, Feliz Paul, a delivery worker, shares his insights with the Workers and Youth Solidarity Network (WYSN), shedding light on the challenges faced by delivery workers and the importance of collective action in ensuring decent work standards.

– Hello, could you please introduce yourself?

I am Feliz Paul, a delivery worker. I own the delivery motorcycle and I’m registered with the government.

– Which sector of delivery workers do you belong to?

I specialize in fast delivery. Additionally, I often receive referrals from past clients, expanding my network through recommendations.

– What’s the name of the company you work with?

I operate under the banner of Feliz Logistic Limited, a company I personally registered. I provide delivery services to individuals and businesses.

– Can you describe the working conditions in terms of allowances and wages?

The charges for our services are relatively low. This situation is compounded by the lack of regulation, making it difficult to increase prices. Given the economic challenges, raising rates risks losing customers. The recent hike in fuel prices has exacerbated the situation, making it even more challenging.

– What do you believe are the reasons behind these low payment levels?

The demand for delivery services exists, but many customers cannot afford higher rates. Additionally, some companies exploit our situation, knowing that there’s always someone willing to take the job at the current rate. Consequently, I find myself stuck with low earnings for the time being, hoping for improvements from both the companies and customers.

– It’s observed that there’s no united platform for delivery workers in Nigeria. What do you think can be done to bring all delivery workers together under a single, powerful platform?

Having a unified platform would enable us to standardize our rates and potentially secure better wages. It could also provide a voice for those in the informal sector, allowing them to advocate for fair treatment.

– Approximately how many delivery companies do you think exist in Nigeria?

There are over two hundred delivery companies in Nigeria, employing around 50,000 delivery workers who often lack the ability to organize, especially those in the informal sector.

– What measures do you believe can be taken to improve the conditions of delivery workers across Nigeria?

The government must address issues such as security concerns and the problem of double taxation. Working conditions in the delivery sector are harsh, and wages are insufficient, as evidenced by the struggles faced by many delivery riders.

– What actions do you think workers, who are increasingly joining this sector, can take?

Firstly, we need to convene mass meetings of delivery workers nationwide and collaborate with social movements to address issues such as insecurity, underpayment, and harassment.

– Do you see a role for trade union centers in assisting delivery workers?

Trade unions could indeed play a vital role in advocating for the rights of delivery workers, particularly those in the informal sector. For instance, in Abuja, where I operate, bureaucratic hurdles and harassment from various authorities significantly affect our operations.

– Are you familiar with the Federation of Informal Workers of Nigeria (FIWON)?

No, I haven’t heard of them, but if they can offer assistance, we would be extremely grateful.

Thank you for your time.

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