Criminal investigations into undocumented cycle couriers

Criminal investigations into undocumented cycle couriers
Credit: Belga

The Brussels Labour Prosecutor’s Office has launched a series of criminal investigations into the status of undocumented couriers working under the names of intermediaries to whom they then hand over part of their earnings, Belga News Agency reports.

Prosecutors are focusing on the labour relationship between the undocumented migrants, the intermediaries and major delivery platforms such as Uber Eats and Deliveroo.

l’Echo reports that the investigations, which stem from citations issued by local police offices, are linked to the offences of employing persons with no residence papers and employing persons who have not been declared to the Social Security Office. These are “Type 4” criminal offences, the most serious ones in the social criminal code.

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The investigators suspect that the intermediaries lend their papers to the migrant couriers in exchange for half of their earnings. As such, the riders probably earn €2.50 an hour.

When contacted by l’Echo, the Labour Prosecutor’s Office declined to make any further comment. The investigations will depend largely on the Labour Court’s ruling on the Deliveroo case, expected in mid-December.

The case began as a criminal investigation but ended up being a civil one. The Brussels Labour Prosecutor’s Office is asking for the “collaborative economy” contract under which the riders are employed to be reclassified as a “salaried employee” contract, which would enable them to obtain better social protection.

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