A Deliveroo spokesperson said the agreement gives “self-employed riders flexibility, guaranteed earnings, representation and benefits.”
One Darlington-based driver who spoke to The Big Issue anonymously, said the price a customer pays for a takeaway had increased, but this has not translated into a pay rise for delivery drivers like him. At the same time, his gas and electricity bill has increased from £116 to £203 per month.
“We all work as self-employed, but that means we need to earn enough money so that we can afford to take days off when we are sick,” he added.
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The driver, who would usually be taking deliveries for Uber Eats and Just Eat but on Tuesday joined the picket line outside a McDonald’s, said that though the companies made huge profits over the pandemic, they are not being passed to the couriers.
President of the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) organising the industrial action Alex Marshall said “we are witnessing an almost sector-wide fall in delivery app courier pay.”
“With the rising cost of living, couriers – who are forced to pay fuel and vehicle costs out of their own wages – are having to cut back on meals to keep their vehicles running. Meanwhile, delivery apps, and the companies they deliver for, generate millions of pounds for their top executives.
Until we see courier pay increase in line with the cost of living, these companies will continue to face strikes and direct action across the UK.”
The strike comes days after police clashed with protesters in Hackney, east London after police arrested a man who they say was wanted for immigration offences while conducting an operation “targeting e-scooters and moped-enabled crime” at a street used by delivery drivers in between jobs.
Activists have said the confrontation highlighted the vulnerability of food delivery drivers, many of whom are migrant workers earning low-pay.
A Just Eat spokesperson said: “We are keen to maintain an open dialogue on issues that are important to couriers. We are working with our third party delivery partner and are having ongoing discussions with them on this matter.”
An Uber Eats spokesperson said: “We offer a flexible way for couriers to earn by using the app when and where they choose. We know that the vast majority of couriers are satisfied with their experience on the app, however we regularly engage with couriers to look at how we can improve their experience.”
A Deliveroo spokesperson said: “Tens of thousands of riders choose to work with Deliveroo in the UK because our way of working is designed around what riders tell us matters to them most – the chance to determine their own work patterns and work when and where they want. Riders always earn more than the national minimum wage while working with us and in most cases riders earn significantly more than this.”