Advertisement
Employment

Food delivery drivers are taking part in the UK’s ‘longest ever gig economy strike’

McDonald’s branches in Sheffield have been forced to stop taking orders due to the walkout over delivery fee payments.

Food delivery couriers, including those who deliver for JustEat, are in their second week of strike action in Sheffield – now said to be the longest gig economy walkout in UK history. 

Drivers employed by courier company Stuart – which is sub-contracted by JustEat – are taking action over a reported cut to delivery fee payments. The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) says Stuart cut the fee per delivery by 25 per cent on most orders.

Members of the union are now demanding an increase, plus mileage and paid waiting times after 10 minutes.

Subscribe to The Big Issue

From just £3 per week

Take a print or digital subscription to The Big Issue and provide a critical lifeline to our work. With each subscription we invest every penny back into supporting the network of sellers across the UK. A subscription also means you'll never miss the weekly editions of an award-winning publication, with each issue featuring the leading voices on life, culture, politics and social activism.

Six McDonald’s branches in Sheffield have been picketed by drivers as orders pile up inside. Some have had to stop taking orders altogether.

The strikes have spread to neighbouring Chesterfield as well as Sunderland, with strikes in Huddersfield due to start in the coming days. 

Gig economy researcher Callum Cant has labelled the action “remarkable,” and the longest strike “in the history of the UK gig economy.” 

Advertisement
Advertisement
The Big Issue Jobs

Looking for work?

There are 1 million new opportunities available at Big Issue Jobs.

“In 2018, we saw a national strike of food delivery workers – but this is the first time that this kind of collective action has continued for more than a week,” he told The Big Issue.

“Across the economy, workers are feeling the squeeze of higher inflation. As some of the lowest paid workers in our economy, platform workers are often on the front line of this trend. This strike is an example of the action they can take to challenge this pay squeeze.”

Stuart made £12million profit during the height of the pandemic.

Article continues below

A number of Labour MPs including John McDonnell, Ian Byrne, Clive Lewis and Jon Cruddas have thrown their weight behind the strike action. 

So too has local MP for Sheffield Hallam Olivia Blake, who said: “These workers have my full support. Savage pay cuts and broken promises are no way to thank couriers who worked throughout the pandemic to help deliver food to the people of Sheffield.

“Both Stuart and JustEat need to step up and take responsibility for making sure their workers have what every worker deserves: a living wage, job security and a fair deal.” 

JustEat and Stuart have been contacted for comment. 

Advertisement

Bigger Issues need bigger solutions

Big Issue Group is creating new solutions through enterprise to unlock opportunities for the 14.5 million people living in poverty to earn, learn and thrive. Big Issue Group brings together our media and investment initiatives as well as a diverse and pioneering range of new solutions, all of which aim to dismantle poverty by creating opportunity. Learn how you can change lives today.

Recommended for you

Read All
Trains to teachers: What strikes could happen in 2022?
Strike action

Trains to teachers: What strikes could happen in 2022?

BT workers vote for first national call centre strike in UK history
Strike action

BT workers vote for first national call centre strike in UK history

What is a universal basic income and why is Wales giving it to care leavers?
UBI

What is a universal basic income and why is Wales giving it to care leavers?

The next Mick Lynch? As strike action escalates, these are the union leaders you may come to know
Strike action

The next Mick Lynch? As strike action escalates, these are the union leaders you may come to know

Most Popular

Read All
Exclusive: BT call centre sets up 'food bank' for its own staff
1.

Exclusive: BT call centre sets up 'food bank' for its own staff

Prince William: 'Why I wanted to work with The Big Issue'
2.

Prince William: 'Why I wanted to work with The Big Issue'

Rainn Wilson emailed Star Trek: Strange New Worlds to say Harry Mudd would 'fit right in'
3.

Rainn Wilson emailed Star Trek: Strange New Worlds to say Harry Mudd would 'fit right in'

The UK approach to replacing the Human Rights Act is just as worrying as the replacement itself
4.

The UK approach to replacing the Human Rights Act is just as worrying as the replacement itself

Keep up to date with The Big Issue. The leading voice on life, politics, culture and social activism direct to your inbox.