Deliveroo UAE scraps plans to cut wages for Dubai riders

Delivery riders and consumers opposed proposal to reduce income per delivery from Dh10.25 to Dh8.75

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Deliveroo UAE said it has scrapped plans to cut wages and increase working hours after riders objected to the move.

The decision, delivered in a message to thousands of deliverymen, came after riders brought the food portal to a near standstill on Sunday when many refused to work.

There had been a proposed move to reduce the payment riders receive per delivery, known as a drop fee, from Dh10.25 to Dh8.75.

Deliveroo initially told riders that other changes to shifts were intended to help them 'maximise earnings' in a highly competitive market with other delivery companies.

It is clear that some of our original intentions have not been clear and we are listening to riders

This included a proposed maximum working day of 14 hours. Many riders currently work two six-hour split shifts with an hour's break, for example from 11am until 5pm and 6pm until midnight.

“We’ve listened to your feedback on these proposed changes and have decided that at the moment they do not best reflect the ways in which riders in Dubai want to work,” said a company statement that was widely shared by riders on social media.

“For that reason we will not be making the proposed changes we had communicated.

“This means that the drop fee will remain at [Dh]10.25 and shift scheduling will remain as it currently is.”

Deliveroo says it is up to rider agencies to supply health insurance

In a statement to The National, Deliveroo said it was among the "highest paying aggregators in the marketplace", and that riders were at the heart of its business.

"Our initial intention with the announcement was to propose a more well-rounded earnings structure for agencies to engage with riders in addition to other incentives," the statement said.

“It is clear that some of our original intentions have not been clear and we are listening to riders.

“We have therefore currently paused all changes and will be working with our agency riders to ensure we have a structure that works for everyone and has our agency riders’ best interest at heart, which has always been our objective.”

Among the complaints listed by riders online was that they did not receive health insurance, nor compensation for sick or annual leave.

In response, Deliveroo said riders in the UAE are employed by third party agencies who take on the responsibility of providing them with essential services. As of now, Deliveroo riders have between one to four hours break during a shift depending on hours worked, and one day off a week.

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES. 11 JANUARY 2020. Heavy rains in Dubai during the night caused extensive flooding at intersections within the city. Commuters battle high water along the Al Manara and Beach road intersection. (Photo: Antonie Robertson/The National) Journalist: Standalone. Section: National.

Hours are agreed upon in advance between riders and agencies as per the local UAE law.

The mobile app was back to business as usual on Monday. Most food delivery businesses use riders employed by agencies rather than directly employing them.

On Sunday, restaurants across the city received messages from Deliveroo's head office that said: “We are currently facing an issue with our rider agencies, where riders are striking and refusing to attend their shifts or deliver orders.

“Rest assured our team is working closely to resolve this issue as quickly as possible while continuing to protect the Deliveroo rider earnings to remain the most competitive in the market.”

This is not the first time the food delivery service has found itself at odds with its employees.

In 2019, Deliveroo riders across the UK staged protests against changes in its pay structure after it reduced the payment riders received per delivery.

Riders were also protesting for better working conditions, including mandatory annual leave and sick pay.

Earlier this month, a campaign was launched in Dubai to reduce the number of accidents involving delivery riders.

The 'It Can Wait' campaign was run by Dubai Police with the emirate’s Roads and Transport Authority in response to an increase in accidents in 2021.

The number of accidents involving motorbikes in Dubai rose by 33 per cent last year, latest figures show.

Dubai authorities said there were 400 accidents in 2021, compared with 300 the previous year.

Updated: May 04, 2022, 4:42 AM