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Around 50 cross-party MPs demand Deliveroo protect income and safety of its riders

13 May 2020 07:00
  • MPs say thousands of people “are being put at risk” by Deliveroo’s actions and that ignoring the IWGB’s demands counters “efforts to slow the spread of the virus”
  • Demands win cross-party support from 44 MPs including Green Party leader Caroline Lucas, Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn and Conservative Sir Peter Bottomley.
  • MPs demand income protection, an end to sackings, and health and safety protections for riders

13 May: A coalition of 44 cross party MPs are demanding that Deliveroo protect the incomes and safety of its riders for the duration of the Covid-19 Pandemic. The MPs have today sent a letter to the company’s CEO Will Shu with six demands and in support of the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain’s (IWGB) campaign for the rights of Deliveroo riders. (the full letter can be found here)

The letter, signed by former labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, Green Party Leader Caroline Lucas, and Conservative MP and father of the House Sir Peter Bottomley, among others, says: “Thousands of people are currently being put at risk by your actions. Deliveroo couriers are low-paid, precarious workers, who are not able to self-isolate when sick or to protect their families, and clients and restaurant staff and other key workers including NHS staff are being potentially exposed to infection.

“To ignore the demands outlined above would be highly irresponsible and counter efforts to slow the spread of the virus.”

The IWGB has also launched a petition today in support of its demands.

The union and the MPs are demanding that Deliveroo:

  • Halt all dismissals of riders - known as “terminations” - until the crisis ends
  • Offer full pay to couriers that have to self-isolate because of Covid-19
  • Allow high-risk couriers to self-isolate for 12 weeks on full pay
  • Offer adequate PPE for all riders
  • Offer regular Covid-19 tests to all riders
  • Provide a minimum standards guarantee, including a guaranteed pay of at least the minimum wage plus costs, holiday pay and sick pay.

Deliveroo’s support for its own workers through the pandemic has been chaotic and grossly inadequate. Deliveroo garnered significant publicity for its offer of free meal vouchers to NHS workers, but by not providing adequate health precautions, these deliveries put rider, recipient and the wider public at risk.

As demand for deliveries have fallen, wages have also plummeted, with many riders reporting to the IWGB that they are earning as little as one pound an hour. Meanwhile Deliveroo has continued to onboard more riders which has further driven down wages for its courier fleet.

Throughout the pandemic, Deliveroo have continued to sack riders without evidence or right to appeal.

Though Deliveroo now pays £100 per week to workers off work with symptoms, many found they were ineligible for the scheme and most are concerned that they cannot support themselves, let alone a family, on this amount.

Deliveroo courier and IWGB couriers and logistics branch secretary Greg Howard says: "Deliveroo has built its business model on precarity and poverty pay. This has only been exacerbated during the Covid-19 pandemic during which riders have been being unfairly terminated, paid far below the minimum wage and forced to work in unsafe conditions. As Deliveroo is increasingly delivering to vulnerable people, it is not only riders that are being put at risk through this questionable business model, but the public as a whole. This work is vital and it can be done safely, but only if Deliveroo invests in the safety and the rights of its riders."

Maxamad Goox, terminated Deliveroo courier and father of two in Birmingham, says: “I was fired for taking too long on deliveries. They said I’d missed my chance to appeal because I missed their email. I work nights for sub-minimum wage, I don’t even have energy to play with my kids when I get home let alone check my emails. They didn’t even have the decency to try calling me. I felt sick when it happened, now all I can think about is how I can support my family. I was a key worker but Deliveroo never treated me like one. Deliveroo doesn’t even treat us like human beings.”

Deliveroo courier Sam (name changed for fear of reprisals), says: “My wife is classed as high-risk and she is petrified because we have no protection, there’s no social distancing at Deliveroo. Every day she begs me not to go to work but if I don’t, we’ll be homeless. We have three children. We don’t want to risk their mother’s life but we don’t want them to be destitute, either. What am I supposed to do? Drivers and customers are dying because of Deliveroo’s failure to take action.”

- ENDS -

For more information:

[email protected]

Notes to Editors

‘Gig economy’ workers like Deliveroo classify their workforce as ‘independent contractors’, enabling them to deny basic employment rights such as a guaranteed minimum wage and holiday pay.

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