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Employment

Just Eat, Deliveroo and UberEats delivery drivers to walk out in Belfast

Food delivery workers from Just Eat, Deliveroo and Uber will stage a six-hour walk out over pay and working conditions on March 23.

Food delivery workers from Just Eat, Deliveroo and UberEats will stage a six-hour walk out over pay and working conditions on March 23. 

In Northern Ireland’s first gig economy workers’ strike, Belfast workers will stop working between 11am and 5pm on Wednesday, holding a protest at McDonalds on Boucher Road.

According to the App Drivers and Couriers Union (ADCU), a typical 12-hour shift will see workers earn as little as £100 before fuel and maintenance costs are deducted from their wages. Just Eat has recently changed its payment structure that has effectively meant a 25 per cent pay cut in delivery drivers’ take home wage, bringing their rates down to similar levels with Deliveroo and UberEats.

“Belfast’s hard pressed food delivery workers are facing desperate circumstances because of the recent round of callous pay cuts just as we are dealing with historically high fuel and maintenance costs for our delivery vehicles,” said a Belfast representative for the ADCU. 

“Workers can only make up for lost income and the effects of inflation by working cruelly longer hours or else they and their families must do without. We just want to earn a fair income and to live a dignified life like everyone else.”

A combination of pay cuts, higher fuel costs, and the ongoing cost of living crisis has also seen the costs to drivers shoot up. Fuel costs increased by 36 per cent and vehicle maintenance by 30 per cent, compared to 2021 figures. Delivery drivers are footing the bill for these costs while also seeing their base wage reduced.

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Just Eat delivery drivers have been regularly striking in Sheffield since December 2021, which saw the beginning of the longest running gig economy strike in UK history, with multiple other regions now joining the strikes.

Delivery drivers are also protesting the increasing electronic surveillance and algorithmic control they’re subjected to, resulting in pay deductions and dismissals without representation or a right of appeal.

Organised by the ADCU, Belfast delivery drivers are now demanding a minimum income guarantee of at least £10 per hour plus fuel and maintenance costs covered, so that every worker has the security of an earnings floor.

By way of support for workers staging a walk out, consumers are also being asked not to place any orders with the three food apps during the strike on Wednesday.

James Farrar, ADCU General Secretary, also added: “Just Eat, Deliveroo and Uber extract vast profits from the local community while impoverishing workers and violating their rights. By not placing an order on Wednesday during the strike time, customers can send a powerful message that the brutal exploitation of workers for profit by international so-called ‘tech’ companies is not acceptable in Belfast. This may be the first gig economy strike in Northern Ireland, but it will certainly not be the last unless we see a rapid change in behaviour from these companies.”

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