UK Deliveroo riders to go on strike in protest against ‘poverty pay’

Union demands better conditions for riders after company’s disastrous IPO

Deliveroo riders will strike in the UK to demand better pay and working conditions. AFP 
Deliveroo riders will strike in the UK to demand better pay and working conditions. AFP 

Hundreds of Deliveroo riders in the UK are expected to go on strike on Wednesday in protest over pay and working conditions.

The protest comes after the app-based food delivery company’s disastrous London Stock Exchange debut last week, with some of the UK’s largest fund managers refusing to participate in the offering, partly due to concerns over the treatment of riders.

The company’s share price tanked 26 per cent from £3.90 ($5.40) per share to £2.87 on its first day of trading.

Hot on the heels of that setback, the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB), the union representing the riders, said protests would take place across the UK on Wednesday.

The union said riders want the minimum wage, currently £8.91 per hour for over-23s, and further safety protections.

Bureau of Investigative Journalism research last week found a third of riders earned less than the minimum wage, while the lowest paid rider in its analysis received only £2 per hour.

IWGB president Alex Marshall said Deliveroo presented a “false choice” between flexibility and basic working rights.

He said the recent Supreme Court judgment that Uber drivers were workers and not self-employed showed “workers can have both”.

“They said it couldn’t be done but by getting organised and speaking out, riders have triggered a domino effect which already slashed £3 billion from Deliveroo’s valuation and that should give pause to any corporation that thinks precarious workers can be endlessly exploited without consequence,” he said.

“It’s time for Deliveroo to do the right thing, recognise its riders as workers and treat them like human beings.”

Couriers and Logistics branch chairman and Deliveroo rider Greg Howard said the company was exploiting those who made deliveries.

“I’m going on strike for my basic rights and those of all the other riders struggling to get by and support families on Deliveroo poverty pay. I’ve seen conditions decline for years and then working through lockdown I contracted Covid-19 and got very little support from Deliveroo,” he said.

“After the pandemic more people than ever understand this exploitation is no way to treat anyone, let alone key workers.”

The National has contacted Deliveroo for comment.

In response to research on worker pay last week, the company said the findings were “misleading” and “unverifiable”.

Published: April 6, 2021 06:16 PM

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