23 November 2021



Belgium, Netherlands Netherlands
Geographical scope
  • Type

    Industrial action

View Initiative


In January 2018, about 80 workers affiliated to the food delivery platform Deliveroo went on strike in major cities in the Netherlands. 

The main reason for this strike was the platform’s refusal to extend contracts unless the workers registered as self-employed. The strike was supported by the youth branch of one of the major trade unions, FNV jong. Later in the month, Dutch riders went (again) on a one-day strike to support Belgian Deliveroo riders who had been on strike for more than a week.  

In Brussels, a group representing 200 riders organised a strike demanding Deliveroo to end the obligatory self-employed status (Deliveroo had announced that the couriers had to move to self-employment after terminating its cooperation with Smart. The strikers were supported by two of the major trade union federations, the Confederation of Christian Trade Unions (Dutch: Algemeen Christelijk Vakverbond, or ACV; French: Confédération des syndicats chrétiens, CSC) and the General Labour Federation of Belgium (French: Fédération Générale du Travail de Belgique, or FGTB; Dutch: Algemeen Belgisch Vakverbond, ABVV). The protesters were also joined by Deliveroo riders from France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands.  

In Belgium, Deliveroo responded with an offer to engage in negotiations with couriers and trade unions. However, the protests did not stop the platform from terminating the SMart agreement. Nonetheless, they stirred public debate, which resulted in Kris Peeters, the Minister of Employment, Labour and Social Dialogue at the time, ordering the Federal Government Department of Social Security to investigate the platform. As a result, the labour and social affairs inspectorates began a formal investigation. Meetings also took place between Deliveroo couriers, Kris Peeters and the Deliveroo management. During the strike and the negotiations that followed, the regional employment office Actiris temporarily suspended Deliveroo’s employment offer. Actiris argued that the phrasing used in the ad suggested that the platform offered riders an employment contract while it was in fact seeking to hire independent contractors as a strategy for adding pressure on the strikers. 

In the Netherlands, the strikes induced the government to launch an investigation of the platform economy in order to determine whether the contracting situation of platform workers is aligned with the Dutch labour code (see further information here). 

Additional information:  ETUI 

Additional metadata

representation, industrial relations, social dialogue, industrial action
Individual worker, Employee organisation


Eurofound (2021), Deliveroo strikes Netherlands and Belgium (Initiative), Record number 3040, Platform Economy Database, Dublin,

  • Smart (société mutuelle pour artistes)

    Smart is a cooperative production house for freelancers (which may include platform workers) and projects that have been awarded cultural grants. It comprises of 90,000 members in nine EU countries. …