Deliveroo workers across the UK are set to strike and demonstrate against low pay on 7 April.
Earlier this month the Bureau of Investigative Journalism analysed payslips from 318 Deliveroo couriers which covered 34,000 hours of time spent logged into the app. They report: “Half (56%) of the riders who took part earned less than an average of £10 an hour for all the time they were logged in. Some took home far less, with one in six (17%) getting less than £6.45 per hour — the lowest possible minimum wage — and one in three (41%) receiving below £8.72, the legal minimum wage for workers over 25.”
Deliveroo have made various claims about rider pay in recent times, claiming that all riders were earning over £10/hour; or that they were “averaging” £13/hour or £11/hour. In any case, the company’s claims do not tally with the experience of workers, who on top of low hourly earnings are denied sick pay, holiday pay or pension contributions. Workers also have to cover the costs of buying, running and insuring the vehicles they use for work.
After this damning report there followed an Initial Public Offering on the London Stock Exchange which was described by the Financial Times as the worst on record. The value of the shares fell by a third almost as soon as they were floated. The FT explains this poor performance by pointing to the two-tier share system designed to allow Will Shu and his friends to maintain maximum control over the company despite going public; tinny hype and over-valuation; and some concern over the treatment of workers. A source at Deliveroo said that the concern about workers’ rights expressed by the firm’s billionaire financier critics is hypocritical: they are probably right.
Deliveroo’s workers will pile on the pressure with a wave of strikes around the UK on 7 April. In the run-up to the action, branches have been becoming more active, recruiting large numbers of workers who have signed up to the app in the last few months as jobs dry up in other sectors of the economy.