Deliveroo riders on strike over pay and conditions

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Around 400 Deliveroo riders are striking over pay and conditions today, amid growing pressure for it to improve working practices and rights.

The riders, members of the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB), are demanding a living wage, safety protections and basic workers’ rights including holiday pay and sick pay.

The company has maintained that Deliveroo riders are self-employed. This status has been upheld by the UK courts three times.

However, after the Bureau of Investigative Journalism found that some Deliveroo riders are paid as little as £2 an hour, the company has come under significant pressure from investment firms to improve working practices.

It floated on the London Stock Exchange last week, but its share price has not performed well. At least 12 major investment firms have said they will not invest and Deliveroo’s valuation has fallen from £9bn to £5.5bn.

“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,” said Greg Howard, Deliveroo rider and chair of the IWGB’s couriers and logistics branch.

“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.”

IWGB president Alex Marshall 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.”

A Deliveroo spokesperson said: “Riders are at the heart of our business and we always aim to give them the work they want and the support that they need.

“We communicate with thousands of riders each week who tell us that they value flexibility above all else. We are proud that rider satisfaction is at an all-time high and thousands of people are applying to be Deliveroo riders each week.

“Today we are beginning a new consultation with riders about how we should invest our new £50m community fund. Riders can always speak to one of our rider engagement teams if they have any concerns.”

Via its community fund, Deliveroo hoped to invest in projects to reward the riders who contribute the most to the company.

It has also announced plans to pay riders bonuses of up to £10,000, based on length of service and numer of deliveries made.

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