Tues 6 April: Deliveroo riders from the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB) voted for and will take industrial action against Deliveroo tomorrow, Wednesday 7 April, to coincide with the corporation’s Initial Public Offering (IPO) on the London Stock Exchange. Riders are demanding a living wage, safety protections and basic workers’ rights.
The strike fund raised almost £10,000 in just a few days last week and socially distanced protests are being organised in London, York, Sheffield, Reading, Wolverhampton. Supportive action is expected internationally in Australia (TWU), France (CGT), Netherlands (FNV), Ireland (SIPTU) and Spain (UGT). Deliveroo is now the world’s most protested app-based platform.
Since it was revealed on 23 March that Deliveroo pays some riders as little as £2 per hour, at least 12 major investment firms have indicated they will not invest and Deliveroo’s valuation plummeted from £9 billion to £5.5 billion.
Deliveroo has also come under increasing pressure from Parliament with large numbers of MPs from all parties backing the IWGB’s demands. In May over 70 MPs declared 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.”
The company’s main competitor Just Eat already declared its intention to abandon the gig economy model of ‘bogus self-employment.’ Other courier corporations have been compelled to do so by courts in the UK and victories against Deliveroo are being won in courts abroad.
Alex Marshall, President (IWGB) and former bicycle courier, says: “Deliveroo presents a false choice between flexibility and basic rights but the Uber ruling showed that here as well as abroad, workers can have both. That is the least they deserve and what the public expects for our frontline workers. They said it couldn’t be done but by getting organised and speaking out, riders have triggered a domino effect which already slashed £3 billion from Deliveroo’s valuation and that should give pause to any corporation that thinks precarious workers can be endlessly exploited without consequence. It’s time for Deliveroo to do the right thing, recognise its riders as workers and treat them like human beings.”
Greg Howard, Deliveroo rider and chair, Couriers & Logistics Branch (IWGB) says: “I’m going on strike for my basic rights and those of all the other riders struggling to get by and support families on Deliveroo poverty pay. I’ve seen conditions decline for years and then working through lockdown I contracted Covid-19 and got very little support from Deliveroo. After the pandemic more people than ever understand this exploitation is no way to treat anyone, let alone key workers. The turning of the tide is clear. It’s time for rights for riders.”