Delivery drivers for popular food-ordering platforms such as Deliveroo and Uber Eats are preparing to stage a strike on Valentine’s Day to demand improved pay and working conditions.
The strike, scheduled for Wednesday, is being orchestrated by a grassroots organisation called Delivery Job UK, with a significant number of its members hailing from Brazil. The group asserts a following of over 3,000 supporters in London and various other cities.
Their objective is to highlight the inadequate pay and unstable conditions encountered by drivers, many of whom juggle multiple delivery apps simultaneously.
Typically categorised as self-employed contractors, app-based delivery drivers are not entitled to receive the statutory “national living wage” of £10.42 per hour, set to rise to £11.44 in April. This status was reaffirmed by a Supreme Court ruling in November, which determined that Deliveroo riders were not considered “workers” following a prolonged legal battle led by the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain advocating for their right to unionise and negotiate collectively.
An organiser from Delivery Job UK, speaking anonymously to the Guardian, remarked on the challenge of attaining the national living wage, particularly when factoring in expenses.
These platforms typically offer a flat-rate minimum per job, alongside an additional fee based on distance; however, these rates fluctuate, and drivers often lament the lack of transparency in their calculation.
“It’s very arbitrary: we are unaware of the algorithm, we don’t know how it’s computed,” stated the organiser, expressing hope that consumers ordering takeaway meals would consider the plight of delivery drivers.
Data collected from thousands of couriers through the Rodeo app, which enables them to compare earnings across different delivery companies, indicated that fees were reduced in 2022 and 2023 despite significant inflation. Deliveroo’s data is not included, as the company has declined to allow drivers to share their information.
Dr Callum Cant, a researcher at Essex Business School, who specialises in this sector, highlighted the persistent issue of declining real wages among delivery app workers over time.
“These workers are frequently treated as invisible. And they’re taken for granted,” he added.
Deliveroo has a voluntary agreement with the GMB trade union aimed at ensuring that riders are remunerated at least the national living wage, inclusive of expenses, for the duration of their orders.
A spokesperson for Deliveroo emphasised the company’s commitment to offering riders flexible work options, attractive earning prospects, and protections, while an Uber Eats spokesperson underscored the flexibility the app provides for couriers to earn income as per their preferences.
Meanwhile, over 1,000 Amazon staff are anticipated to participate in a strike at the company’s Coventry warehouse from Tuesday to Thursday amidst an ongoing pay dispute.
Thousands of Deliveroo and Uber Eats Drivers Set to Strike on Valentine’s Day