Hitting dark kitchens

Submitted by AWL on 15 May, 2019 - 7:27 Author: Zack, IWGB National Deliveroo Committee chair
dark kitchen

Deliveroo couriers struck in Cambridge on Sunday 5 May, targetting Deliveroo’s “dark kitchens”, storage units from which restaurant chains prepare food for a dedicated Deliveroo service. We have not yet established contact with riders there, and do not know exactly why they are striking.

The strike seems to have been organised by, and predominantly attended by, motorbike couriers. They seem to have had good turnout. The weekend after, Friday 10 and Saturday 11 May, Deliveroo gave couriers increased pay all evening. In most places where we have got members of the IWGB, or are in contact with couriers, action has been a bit quieter this week.

After the waves of action in these recent months, we’ve had some limited victories in various places. We have not given up, or been bought off, by these, and are — in some places at least — reaching out and agitating for future strikes.

Couriers for The Doctors’ Laboratory, subcontracted by the NHS in London, will be striking within weeks. TDL and the union had been negotiating a pay rise following cuts and stagnation for over a year. TDL then withdrew that and are now trying to implement effective pay cuts, through moving couriers to being paid through PAYE, and forcing them to incur all expenses for bikes, petrol, and insurance — thousands per year.

TDL’s dispute has different dynamics from the Deliveroo dispute, as couriers have previously won a whole range of major victories, including worker status and union recognition. With these, however, they are now shackled by anti-union legislation. Deliveroo couriers will be supporting their picket lines.

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