Deliveroo promotes new gig economy language

Deliveroo are pedalling a new vocabulary to further distance their workers from the idea of employment.

In a six page document given to staff, the couriers are described as wearing “branded clothing” rather than uniforms, they receive “invoices” not pay slips, they’re to “log-in” not clock on to start a shift and it’s “termination” not the sack that they face.

The document, seen by the Financial Times, describes these as “vocabulary guidelines” and has been circulated internally to their UK staff. The six page “dos and don’ts” publication demonstrates how sensitive these gig-economy companies are to any, even linguistic, suggestions that the people who work for them are employees.

The right way, and the wrong way, to refer to things is put in two columns in the document.

In the correct column you would say, “rider invoices are processed fortnightly”, and it is listed as wrong to say “we pay you every two weeks”. “Yesterday you logged in later than you agreed to be available” is a do, and “yesterday you were late to start your shift” a don’t.

Deliveroo said to the FT:

“We have almost 1,000 full-time staff and work with over 15,000 riders in the UK. We ensure that employees know how to work with our partners, which includes training and guidelines to follow when talking to customers, restaurants, and, of course, self-employed riders.”

See: Want to really take back control? Join a trade union


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