Exploitation at our doorstep

Exploitation at our doorstep

Almost 7 euros for two hours of work - sheer exploitation, and I know many student jobs like this

31-05-2023 · Student column

“Thanks to this side job, I can eat out with my friends, and go on vacation every year”, one young girl is quoted. “Moving in the fresh morning air keeps me going", is written beside the photo of an older woman.

I had many side jobs throughout the years, but making money in the early morning whilst moving as a newspaper delivery person, that’s a first for me. I wanted to give it a try, as it sounds promising, looking at these testimonials on the website advertising for the job. Plus: I really need some money before summer is approaching.

The registration on the website was done quickly. Last Monday was my first day on the job: I set my alarm for 5am, and, with my eyes half-closed, went downstairs. When I opened the front door, big packages of newspapers were already waiting for me, and a list with the households that they should be delivered to. I put the 108 newspapers into the pannier bags on my bike, and started to ride towards the first house, slowed down by the heavy load.

“It’s a relaxed job, expect around 45 minutes for the delivery. It doesn’t make you rich, it’s rather a paid workout”, I remembered the words of my manager on the way. On my route I also got to meet some colleagues. They seemed happy to have a new colleague and offered their help. Time passed fast, and after I delivered the last paper, it was already 7:33am: I’ve been biking and running for around two hours (“expect 45 minutes”, right?). My entire body was covered in sweat.

After taking a shower, I sat down to do the maths. Different from what I thought, the job is not paid by the hour, but by delivered paper. That is, 6.3 cent for each paper. My ‘paid two-hour workout’, in the end, came down to 6.80€. And that’s before taxes.

Having worked for a local newspaper, I know that times aren’t easy for journalism. Besides the increasing refusal of many people to pay for news (as for most things they can get around paying, which is another story), costs of printers and paper have skyrocketed lately. Everything and everyone, in the end, needs to have a piece of the cake. But the many friendly krantenbezorgers that get up at 5am or even earlier to deliver the news six days a week, in sunshine, rain and snow, should get a larger piece. 6.80€ for two hours - if you ask me, that’s not a paid workout. That's sheer exploitation.

And I know there are many other (student-)jobs that are just like this one. If you’re able to change circumstances like these, or if you will be in the future, please, at least give it a try.     

Simon Wirtz

Author: Redactie

Illustration: Simone Golob

Categories: Columns and opinion
Tags: simonwirtz

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