'After the pandemic more people than ever understand this exploitation is no way to treat anyone'
Today marks the first day Deliveroo is trading on the London Stock Exchange. Today is also the day that Deliveroo drivers have chosen to go on strike.
Claudia Webbe, MP for Leicester East, encapsulated it well when she tweeted that “Deliveroo intend to make billions whilst workers are exploited earning as little as £2/hr”.
It’s why socially distanced protests were planned in London, York, Sheffield, Reading and Wolverhampton today (7 April), as Deliveroo workers take a stand for fair pay, safety protections and basic workers’ rights.
In a damning report released on 23 March, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism revealed Deliveroo pays some riders as little as £2 an hour.
Since then, at least 12 major investment firms have indicated they will not invest and Deliveroo has lost £3 billion from its valuation. Over 70 MPs already back the IWGB’s demands for fair terminations, income and health and safety protection for riders.
The company’s valuation has now plummeted from £9 billion to £5.5 billion.
Deliveroo has also won a name as the world’s most protested app-based platform as supportive action was expected in Australia, France, the Netherlands, Ireland and Spain ahead of today’s UK strikes.
The company’s main competitor, Just Eat, has 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, said: “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.”
Also speaking about the topic, Greg Howard, Deliveroo rider and chair, Couriers & Logistics Branch (IWGB) said: “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.”
Ms Webbe added: “Solidarity all Deliveroo workers on strike today with @IWGBunion demanding a decent wage, rights and safety.”
Lucy Skoulding is a freelance reporter at Left Foot Forward. Follow her on Twitter.
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