The Dutch arm of Helpling, the online domestic cleaning agency, has gone bust, seven years after it set up operations in the Netherlands.
Curator Martijn Moeliker told the Parool that the company had been unable to pay its debts to its German parent, which is backed by Rocket Internet and Unilever Ventures, the household products company’s venture capital arm.
Helpling was taken to court by the FNV trade union in 2021, which argued that the cleaners who found work via the platform had the legal status of temporary employees, with rights to sick and redundancy pay.
While the union won on some points, the appeal court ruled that Helpling did not have to employ its cleaners on regular contracts and a second appeal is now pending.
FNV spokeswoman Anja Dijkman told the Parool the bankruptcy ‘proves that if a platform company keeps to the rules, it cannot exist.’
Earlier food delivery company Deliveroo pulled out of the Dutch market after judges said delivery workers should be given employment contracts.
Moeliker is looking into a potential restart, and the 10 members of staff have lost their jobs. However, the website is still operational and it is unclear if the cleaners and clients on its books are aware of the bankruptcy.
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