Deliveroo’s plans to reward its most experienced riders with bonuses, fell into disarray this week with many riders receiving the wrong amounts.
Experienced riders had been promised a bonus ranging from £200 to £10,000 from a “thank you fund”. They were due to receive the money on Tuesday, but some were paid as much as double the amount they were expecting in their in-app accounts.
Deliveroo had announced in early March it was setting aside a £16 million fund to reward its most loyal riders as part of its flotation on the London Stock Exchange.
Riders/drivers who had been with the business for at least one year and had completed 2,000 orders were to receive £200. But length of service and number of deliveries was to have resulted in some workers gaining payments of £500, £1,000 and even £10,000.
In its flotation prospectus, the company said the top payments would be made to riders who had completed the highest number of orders in each market. About a quarter qualified for a payment; 300 riders globally were due to receive the maximum £10,000.
Deliveroo said the average payment drivers would receive would be £440. More than half of the recipients were to be those working the UK, some of whom began riding when the company was first launched by CEO Will Shu in 2013.
The Times reported that some couriers who received overpayments quickly moved the cash. This prompted Deliveroo to briefly halt all further transfers, including normal payments to riders not eligible for a bonus.
Alex Marshall, president of the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain, which represents couriers, tweeted: “You’d think the workforce had been tortured enough… but now Deliveroo have sent riders their ‘thank you’ fund twice only to suspend the cash-out feature and take it back hours later! A ‘British tech success’ that can’t even pay its workforce.”
Last night Deliveroo said that the issues had been resolved and that all payments had been made. In a statement, it said: “A technical error meant a small number of riders were offered a higher payment than intended. We have apologised to riders for this confusion. The £16m thank you fund has been paid in full and is a sign of our appreciation of their contribution.”
Deliveroo’s flotation on the stock exchange at the end of March was widely viewed as a significant failure by the City after concerns over labour practices, the sustainability of the business model in the face of demands from legislators in various countries and corporate governance saw investors shy away.
The stock plunged as much as 31% in its first minutes of trading to trigger circuit breakers – the worst performance in decades for a large UK listing. The stock closed down 26% at 287.45 pence having been priced at 390p for its float.