On 17th September at 5PM, food delivery couriers are rejecting all orders from Kingsland High Street McDonald’s after being declined the use of McDonald's Abbot Street car park.
IWGB food delivery couriers using Ashwin street, just off Kingsland High Street, are being forced to move by Hackney council to Bentley Road Car Park with the support of McDonald's. The new location is currently being used as a Covid-19 testing centre. It is frequently full, further away from key collection points and offers no shelter or toilet facilities.
As orders are assigned partly on the basis of proximity to the restaurant, workers are actively encouraged by food delivery companies to stay near these places. As an essential part of their business, couriers have repeatedly requested that McDonald’s open its delivery yard for courier parking. This would reduce the noise on neighbouring Ashwin Street that has been a cause of concern for local residents but it is also an acceptable distance from restaurants and facilities. Instead, the company has hidden behind poor communication, reporting that their landlord is behind the refusal.
Dalston couriers first initiated a discussion with Hackney council to raise the issue of parking fines on Ashwin Street in July. After several meetings, including with McDonald's, riders found their concerns were ignored or dismissed. Food couriers provide a vital service for the community, delivering essential goods to vulnerable people and helping restaurants stay afloat during the pandemic. Workers have been left with no alternative but to take action.
This first one-day boycott, organised by IWGB members, will see food delivery couriers rejecting all McDonald’s orders from 5pm on the 17th September, the busiest time for orders. Local councillors have been invited to attend and show their support.
Alvaro R. a local IWGB rider, said: "They want to get rid of us as if we are a plague, without hearing our solutions - all we want is be treated as key workers like we were during the lockdowns, with a good safe area near the restaurant to wait for orders!"
Michael N. a local rider and resident, said: “All it takes is for a restaurant to be a few minutes late with your order before you’re slapped with a parking fine. It wipes out your earnings. All we want is to do our jobs with some basic respect and support."
John Kirk BAME officer of the Couriers and Logistic Branch of the IWGB, said: “Hackney council should be pushing the food delivery companies and restaurants, like Mcdonald's, who have massively benefited from the pandemic, to contribute to adequate infrastructure. Instead, they are choosing to penalise a low paid, mainly migrant, precarious workforce. Couriers are showing they will not be an easy target to be pushed around.”
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