“We're a large multinational company with quite a lot of money, and we want to insure our people,” he told the news service. “We want to be certain they do have benefits, that we do pay taxes on those workers.”
Groen, a Dutch billionaire businessman who is also the founder and CEO of Takeaway.com, the Amsterdam-based online food ordering and home delivery service, said told the BBC prefers to operate his company with staff who receive benefits and workplace protection. It’s a model he has used at Takeaway since the company was launched in 2000, he said.
Ride-hailing and delivery drivers are routinely considered part of the “gig economy” in which workers are paid based on the jobs or “gigs.” Employees, on the other hand, are entitled to benefits, such as vacation and holiday pay and healthcare. In addition, employers must pay taxes for workers, including one half of their social security and Medicare taxes along with state unemployment taxes.
Groen told the BBC he did not like the idea that workers who customers rely on to deliver food should have worse working conditions than those who receive the food.
“It is our intent to make the quality of life of these people a lot better than what it might be now,” he said.
The interview comes two months after a deal was reached for Just Eat Takeaway to buy Grubhub for $7.3 billion. The companies said at the time that the merged entity will focus on popular sectors for food delivery, including the United States, United Kingdom, Germany and the Netherlands.
Earlier this year, Takeaway agreed to a $7.8 billion takeover of British competitor Just Eat.
Last week, California Superior Court Judge Ethan Schulman said Uber and Lyft have until Aug. 20 to reclassify their drivers. The companies are expected to appeal. The ruling requires the ride-hailing firms to stop classifying their drivers as independent contractors pending further action by the court.
Also, last week, San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin filed a preliminary injunction against DoorDash, the country’s largest food delivery service, to require the company to reclassify its workers as employees.