Deliveroo riders across the UK are due to strike over pay and working conditions in a move which
“should give pause to any corporation that thinks precarious workers can be endlessly exploited”.
Just a week after Deliveroo endured what has been described as the “worst IPO in London’s history” its riders are planning to host protests to demand basic workers’ rights.
According to its organisers the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB), hundreds of riders are due to hold socially distanced protests in London, Reading, Sheffield, York and Wolverhampton today (April 7).
More riders are set to strike across Ireland, Australia, France and Spain while others will show their support by not logging in to the Deliveroo app, The Grocer reported.
— IWGB Couriers (@IWGB_CLB) April 6, 2021
The riders are demanding a living wage, access to holiday and sick pay, no more unpaid waiting times and the right to refuse unsafe work without facing penalties.
While its not clear how many riders will be attending the protest, this will be a hammer blow to Deliveroo which is still reeling from its disastrous float last week, which saw billions wiped off of its valuation.
Major investors shunned the highly anticipated listing amid fears of just such a revolt by its workers, following a report published just days earlier which revealed a third of Deliveroo riders made less than minimum wage.
The IPO also took place just a week after Uber, which pioneered the gig economy model Deliveroo depends on, caved to growing pressure and granted all 70,000 of its drivers’ workers’ rights.
Many investors believe Uber’s move has opened the door for workers across the gig economy to demand basic rights, a change which the still unprofitable Deliveroo would struggle to survive.
“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,” IWGB president and former delivery rider Alex Marshall said.
“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 £3bn 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.”
IT'S STRIKE DAY!!🥊
Solidarity to all the striking workers across York, Britain and the world🌍 If you ARE in York however, you should come join our #Rights4Riders rally TODAY from 5PM!https://t.co/ZN7aAXAMr3 pic.twitter.com/dWTXVTGaYv
— IWGB Couriers York (@CouriersYork) April 7, 2021
Deliveroo responded stating: “This small self-appointed union does not represent the vast majority of riders who tell us they value the total flexibility they enjoy while working with Deliveroo alongside the ability to earn over £13 an hour.
“Only today we ran a survey and 88 per cent of riders said that they were happy with the company and flexibility was their priority.
“We are proud that rider satisfaction is at an all-time high and that thousands of people are applying to be Deliveroo riders each and every week.
“Riders are at the heart of our business and today we are beginning a new consultation with riders about how we should invest our new £50m community fund.”