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The boycott targeting Wagamama Valentine’s Day sales will highlight the poor treatment of Deliveroo riders, who hope that boycotts will pressure clients like Wagamama to take more responsibility for exploitation of riders delivering its food.
Wagamama prides itself on sustainability, business ethics and "kaizen", Japanese for good change. But while the restaurant chain recently celebrated a record breaking £1 million profit from takeaways in a single week, it is notorious for poor treatment of delivery riders and long waiting times. Deliveroo riders are paid per delivery rather than per hour, so wait times have a direct impact on pay which can take income well below the national minimum wage.
Pay for Deliveroo riders in York and Sheffield - the UK’s second biggest city for takeaway profits - has been pushed down still further by recent changes made by Deliveroo to the way its app works in these cities. The Booking Zones system, in which riders applied for and worked specific time slots, has been replaced by a “free login” system workers say creates a free for all, forcing riders to race around for hours with no pay at all.
Greg Howard, Deliveroo rider & secretary, Couriers & Logistics Branch (IWGB) says:
“Competition for each little job is so fierce now, it’s dangerous. Say you get ‘lucky’ and manage to beat everyone else to the punch for a 30 minute job that pays £3.20. When you spend an extra 30 minutes at Wagamama waiting for the order, that leaves you earning less than half of the national minimum wage. These are the scraps we’re made to fight for. We’ve got parents working 12 hour shifts to support their kids and still being forced onto benefits to keep a roof over their heads. I just don’t see how that’s legal or justifiable.”
Will Bossman, Deliveroo rider in York, says:
“Companies like Deliveroo are using this technology to turn back the clock on employment rights for their own profit. We don’t want to be millionaires, we just want Deliveroo to play by the rules and pay us fairly for all the hard work we do. Deliveroo doesn’t listen to us, but we’re hoping that if clients like Wagamama start losing profit, they’ll have a reason to pressure Deliveroo into respecting basic workers’ rights. That’s why we’re asking people to boycott Wagamama tonight.”
The boycott will be running from 18:00-21:00 in both cities, with spokespeople available from 19.00 at:
Wagamama Sheffield, 2 Leopold Square, Sheffield City Centre, Sheffield. S12JG
Wagamama York, 77-8 Goodramgate, York. YO1 7LS
The first Wagamama boycott organised by IWGB Deliveroo riders took place on 20 December 2019 at the Spitalfields branch in central London. Though both Wagamama and Deliveroo refused to directly address workers’ concerns, workers now report reduced wait times and improved conduct.
For more information, contact:
Press Officer, IWGB