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Deliveroo riders to strike and investor briefing exposes further risk as major investment firms shun Deliveroo over exploitation of key workers

28 March 2021 10:42
  • Hundreds of UK Deliveroo riders expected to strike on 7 April when the IPO occurs.
  • This follow’s last week’s revelations that riders can earn as little as £2 per hour.
  • Investor briefing produced by the IWGB alongside ShareAction and The Private Equity Stakeholder Project outlines significant financial and reputational risks associated with investment, citing poverty pay alongside health and safety concerns including poor COVID-19 protections, litigation and industrial action.
  • Aviva, BMO Global, CCLA, Legal & General, Rathbones, Hargreaves Lansdown and Aberdeen Standard all indicate they will not invest in Deliveroo due to these concerns.
  • 70+ MPs already back the IWGB’s demands for fair terminations, income and health and safety protection for riders.

Sunday 28 March: the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB) alongside ShareAction and The Private Equity Stakeholder Project have today released a full investor briefing outlining the extensive financial and reputational risks associated with this investment. These are key concerns for the hundreds of UK Deliveroo riders expected to take strike action on 7 April when Deliveroo is due to make its Initial Public Offering (IPO) on the London Stock Exchange. The IWGB has launched a strike fund to support workers taking industrial action.

The briefing flags major health and safety concerns including but not limited to poor COVID-19 protections. It also highlights pay well below minimum wage, with many riders earning as little as £2 per hour and points to the rise in litigation and industrial action against the company.

This follows last week’s revelations from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism which confirmed IWGB members longstanding claims that many riders are earning sub-minimum wage, with some paid as little as £2 per hour. Some of the UK’s largest investment firms including Aviva, BMO Global, CCLA, Aberdeen Standard, Hargreaves Lansdown, Rathbones and Legal & General all indicate they will not invest in Deliveroo due to these concerns.

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.” This month, an Early Day Motion supporting the union’s #ClappedAndScrapped campaign gathered another 65 MPs calling for an overhaul of Deliveroo’s terminations process.

Alex Marshall, IWGB President and former bicycle courier, says: “Investing in Deliveroo means associating yourself with the exploitative and unstable business model that it champions and has set aside millions to defend. It means signing up to support a company condemned across parliament during the pandemic for endangering public health and for clapping and then scrapping key workers without due process. With riders now going on strike and determined to push for change, it means standing on the wrong side of history with nothing but bad press, litigation and industrial action to look forward to.”

Joseph Durbridge, London-based Deliveroo rider, says: “I can not rely on Deliveroo for a hundred percent of my income. I’ve worked throughout the pandemic and it’s difficult to make ends meet. Deliveroo’s hiring more people and endlessly driving our income down. It doesn’t care about the financial security or basic rights of its riders and shamelessly claims the workforce is largely casual. We will not let them take us for a ride.”

Jim Baker, Executive Director, Private Equity Stakeholder Project, says: "Deliveroo riders are playing a critical role during the COVID-19 pandemic but the company treats them as disposable. Given its competitors' moves away from a gig-based workforce, Deliveroo faces substantial reputational risk in failing to adequately address riders' concerns."

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.

-ENDS-

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