This is a call to delivery workers, couriers, logistics workers, and all who want to support the struggle of workers in the delivery and logistics sector—in China and elsewhere:

On February 25, 2021, Mengzhu was detained. Mengzhu’s real name is Chen Guojiang. After working as a food delivery worker himself, he set up mutual aid networks to support his fellow workers. On April 2, 2021, Chinese authorities charged him with “picking quarrels and provoking trouble,” a bogus charge regularly leveled against activists in China.

Two of his fellow delivery workers, Ma Rong and Yu Ziyang, have also remained in detention. Others involved in the delivery workers’ mutual aid networks and Mengzhu’s supporters in China have been harassed by state security forces. The public discussion of Mengzhu’s detention within China has been censored.

For years, delivery workers and couriers have staged strikes and other forms of labor resistance in China. In the past twelve months alone, such actions have taken place in provinces including Shandong, Junan, Shanghai, Fujian, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Liaoning, Guangdong, Yunnan, Anhui, Jiangsu, and Guizhou. Wage arrears, wage cuts, and fines are among the reasons for the labor unrest in the delivery and logistics sector.

Food delivery drivers in China, such as those working for the branch leaders and Meituan, have faced company attempts to reduce their payment and force them to deliver more orders per hour. Many need to work overtime and put their own safety at risk by speeding, just to meet the requirements and avoid company fines. Without formal employment status, many of them have no social insurance coverage nor legal labor protections.

Mengzhu was among those who built networks and spoke out publicly against the exploitation of delivery drivers—much to the displeasure of the bosses. His arrest shows that, as usual, the Chinese authorities collaborate with the companies, suppress workers’ autonomous organizing, and threaten, intimidate, and criminalize worker activists.

On a global scale, the delivery and logistics sector has expanded rapidly in recent years. Delivery workers have organized and staged struggles in many parts of the world. The problems they face are similar to those of their colleagues in China. Some have already expressed their solidarity with Mengzhu and the struggle of delivery workers in China.

We call on all delivery workers around the world to join the efforts, include solidarity with Mengzhu in their daily actions and struggles, and support our demands:

  • Mengzhu (Chen Guojiang) must immediately be released and the criminal charge against him has to be dropped!
  • Delivery workers at companies such as, Meituan, Deliveroo, UberEats, DoorDash, Grubhub, Instacart, Delivery Hero, Foodpanda, and iFood who demand their recognition as formal employees must get a labor contract with a guaranteed living wage and social insurance!
  • The state and the companies must be taught to respect when delivery workers organize independently and fight against exploitation and for the improvement of their working conditions!

An injury to one is an injury to all!, May 1, 2021