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The union hoping to represent Foodora Inc.’s Toronto couriers has filed an unfair labour practice complaint with the Ontario Labour Relations Board, alleging the company is attempting to scare couriers into voting against unionization.

Couriers are set to vote on whether to join the Canadian Union of Postal Workers on Friday.

In a press release, the CUPW said it filed an application for union certification with the OLRB last week. Since then, the company has emailed workers and messaged them directly on the app they use for work to discourage them from voting to join the union, according to the complaint.

Read: Foodora couriers attempting to unionize for better pay, benefits

“We will not stand for this type of intimidation from the employer — we will not back down,” said Jan Simpson, CUPW’s national president. “Foodora couriers deserve to be treated with respect and we will negotiate better working conditions for them. Gig economy workers have been too vulnerable for too long. Their exploitation ends now.”

In an emailed statement to Benefits Canada, Foodora said it’s acting in good faith and following Ontario’s labour laws. “We greatly value our relationship with couriers and the work they do as independent contractors,” said Sadie Weinstein, a spokesperson for the company. “Foodora recognizes the decision on whether or not to unionize is an important one for our couriers, and we’ll continue to exercise our right to free speech to ensure that our couriers can make a fully informed choice. We look forward to addressing CUPW’s certification application with the Ontario Labour Relations Board.”

Read: Uber Toronto drivers unionizing for minimum wage, sick and vacation days

The Justice for Foodora Couriers group is seeking to unionize to bargain for basic employee benefits, such as Canada Pension Plan and employment insurance contributions, in addition to better pay.

The group says Foodora’s classification of its couriers as independent contractors is incorrect. It’s seeking to have workers classified as dependent contractors, a middle ground between independent contractors and full-time employees that would permit couriers to unionize and have the same rights and protections as employees while still giving them some flexibility.

Copyright © 2019 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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