Danish union 3F fights abuse in online supermarket business nemlig

10 Jun 2021

Lately, Danish union 3F has been making headlines as they fight against the abysmal treatment of warehouse workers and drivers at nemlig. And they’re making steady progress, the ETF breaks it down:

What’s nemlig?

A Danish-based online supermarket business where warehouse workers and delivery drivers are made to work under dismal conditions.

Nemlig is vivid proof that Amazon copy-cats are popping up all over Europe, ready to exploit every legal loophole possible to make money on the back of people in deep need of jobs and means of survival.

The majority of workers are migrants – more than 67 different nationalities, that is. And migrants from non-EU countries can only stay in Denmark if they can prove a certain level of income. Nemlig hires them on a low number of hours, so pay is poor unless they prove 110% work efficiency. In warehouses, this is measured on screens. Easy to instigate and make people compete against each other.

What are unions doing about it?

Last Friday, 3F braced for action! They started picketing in front of one of nemlig’s largest warehouses, in Brøndby, and they plan to continue until the Danish giant steps up and does right by their workers!

There are two issues here: on the one hand, the warehouse staff is covered by a CBA that has been bypassed by the company. On the other hand, the delivery drivers are all subcontracted and bogus self-employed. Nemlig washes its hands of any responsibility – they don’t need to bother about drivers’ earnings, health issues, holidays or soaring working hours – it’s down to each and every driver to sort this out.

In a successful attempt to put warehouse issues in order, 3F rolled up its sleeves and changed the conditions for part-time jobs. From now on, only 30% of the staff can be on part-time contacts. Every part-time worker working 37 hours or more over a period of 2 months, will automatically be offered a full-time contract.

What about the van drivers?

That’s the next challenge 3F is more than ready to take on. Since last Friday, every morning at 5 am, union activists and 3F’s top leaders can be found standing before the gates of Nemlig’s Brøndby location, to approach drivers and inform them of their rights, and of the benefits of joining a union.

The main goal?

For nemlig to take on its responsibility as an employer towards its delivery staff, ensure protection for staff, and coverage by the sector’s collective bargaining agreement.

The ETF can only cheer the initiative of our member. We hope that the political power will step up efforts to curve the rapid spread of this business model throughout Europe.

This would be nothing new. More than a month ago, an Amazon strike coordinated by the Italian transport trade unions prompted the Italian government to force the company to sit together with the unions and negotiate an agreement for delivery drivers!

We’ll be back with news from Denmark! All good news, we hope!

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