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Deliveroo Covid-19 hardship funds are unworkable; IWGB Couriers send demands to "gig economy" employers

18 March 2020 11:42
  • Riders that have tried to apply for the scheme have found that they are unable to secure requested sick note
  • IWGB demands full sick pay without preconditions
  • IWGB demands a number of other measures from all gig economy companies, including safety equipment, medical testing and temporary leave pay

17 March: The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) calls on Deliveroo to immediately reform its Covid-19 hardship fund, which has been set up in a way which makes it impossible for many riders that are genuinely sick or self isolating to claim the payments.

The IWGB’s Couriers and Logistics branch is making this demand alongside a number of others that are necessary if gig economy companies intend to operate safely and ethically during the crisis, without worsening the risk to the public. The branch will be writing to gig economy employers this week with its demands.

Deliveroo’s fund, announced last week, is only available to those that can produce a sick note. Given that the NHS guidelines state that people that display Covid-19 symptoms should not go to their GP and the 111 helpline does not currently provide sick notes, it is unclear how Deliveroo workers are expected to provide said notes.

Deliveroo has even denied access to its hardship fund to riders that it has deactivated from the app, as it suspected they had contracted Covid-19.

Furthermore, Deliveroo has provided no information on how much the fund would pay out, even in a case where someone is able to procure a sick note.

IWGB Couriers and Logistics branch chair Alex Marshall said:

“Once we pull the curtains on Deliveroo’s announcement on assistance for workers that are sick or self-isolating, it is obvious that behind the PR spin it is more of the same old deceitful tactics. Deliveroo and other so-called gig economy employers have to stop blocking their workers’ access to these funds and immediately introduce full contractual sick pay, without pre-conditions. Increasingly, these workers are being expected to play a huge role in feeding people during this time of crisis, so it is time for their employers and the government to give them the basic rights we expect in any decent and just society."

The IWGB’s Couriers and Logistics branch will, among other things, also be demanding that that employers provide:

  • Full pay during sickness or self-isolation
  • A guaranteed floor in earnings of the living wage plus costs, to protect workers at times of low demand.
  • Safety equipment to prevent the spread of the virus, including where necessary hand sanitiser, protective gloves, masks and more comprehensive measures in high-risk areas.
  • Regular medical testing. Couriers’ work means that they are regularly in contact with different members of the public so monitoring that they have not caught Covid-19 is essential.
  • Enhanced pay for those who continue to work, assuming greater risks and higher workload.
  • Social distancing policies wherever possible, including the right for couriers to request no-contact delivery drop offs, where those policies aren’t already in place.
  • Temporary leave funded by companies wherever necessary.

The IWGB represents workers in several gig economy companies, including Uber, Deliveroo, eCourier, Addison Lee, Stuart, The Doctors Laboratory and City Sprint.

-ENDS-

For more information:

Emiliano Mellino

[email protected]

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