La Pájara Ciclomensajería opened in September 2018. Throughout this time we have created a network of contacts and collaborations with various projects at a local, national and international level, whilst being accompanied by two fundamental allies: Mares Madrid, a programme that promotes the birth of initiatives within the framework of the social and solidarity based economy; and CoopCycle, the European federation of bicycle delivery cooperatives, which provides us with the ethical tools we need, like an open source digital platform to manage orders. The collaboration with Mensakas, our sister in Barcelona, is very important in every moment.
We believe in a different, more responsible business model, without the insecurity that so characterizes this sector. That’s why all our workers are equal partners in the project, with access to social security, sick pay, holiday pay, insurance….the usual, right? Well not for almost all other bicycle messengers in the industry.
We have made many sacrifices to achieve these objectives, whilst in parallel developing our messenger and food delivery services. However we still have some way to go to consolidate the project and make it more well known here in Madrid, particularly our food delivery platform. Will you help us?
Description of the project. Main features, strengths and differentials.
Professionalize the sector - being a bicycle messenger isn’t a hobby - it is a high risk profession with a need for protection, security and of course a decent salary, three aspects that are not found in the generally precarious work with the big digital platforms, exploitation that we have denounced through RidersXDerechos.
Alternatively, through the dynamic of a cooperative, we want to encourage self-organization, democratic management and economic sovereignty, construct networks to support responsible consumption and local trade. All this whilst supporting a logistical framework of zero emissions.
We have almost managed to generate dignified employment for the four founders of the cooperative, and we can offer an ethical alternative to the consumer, we would also like to offer, little by little, the opportunity of a decent job to more delivery workers.
Why this is important
In La Pájara we believe that technology is an extremely useful tool to optimize our work and achieve our principle objective: create dignified jobs and earn a living wage from them. We do this without worker abuse, algorithms or robots as intermediaries: this technology allows us to have the capacity to resolve any incidents and offer a quality service, while the project is founded on closeness, human interaction and collaboration. Knowledge and tools are shared in a network of social initiatives, we cooperate to publicise each others’ projects. There are multiple challenges, but unquestionably we have the awareness necessary to offer a consumer option that contributes to boost local solidarity and the social economy. We are not the solution, we are an alternative for the final consumer, for shops and restaurants, and possibly for workers.
So to summarize, we address all the people that would like to contribute to the consolidation of this project to:
- Generate resources to invest in a predominently digital marketing and communication campaign
- Strengthen the security and efficiency of the coop’s daily work
- Make the ethical alternative that we are constructing together with CoopCycle become a significant option of responsible consumerism
Currently we are four bike messengers: Antonio (the heron), Joaquín (bald eagle), Kike (the flamenco) and Martino (the owl). We come from different backgrounds (graphic art, architecture, engineering…) which help us with the management and administration of the coop, whilst we are united by an incredible passion for cycling, one of the main reasons that led us to start this project. We have previous experience in small bike courier companies in Madrid and Berlin, and planned to abandon the model of the digital platforms (Deliveroo, Glovo, UberEats, etc.), where we worked in 2017, after gaining experience in the field and also learning that we didn’t want to continue experiencing the vulnerability, dangers and precarious conditions that were normalized in these companies. We are now focused on constructing a well-run and sustainable project in every aspect.