Deliveroo workers strike in pay and conditions dispute

Alan Jones, Julia Saqui and Cosmo Teare, PA

Delivery firm Deliveroo is maintaining that most of its drivers are satisfied working for the company despite industrial action over pay and conditions.

The Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB) said hundreds of its members went on strike as part of a campaign for more pay and improved employment rights and safety protections.

The company disputed the union’s claims, saying only a “tiny minority” of workers took action, adding it was launching a consultation with riders about how to invest a new £50 million community fund.

Deliveroo shares climbed higher on their first day of full trading on Wednesday, increasing by more than 3% to 290p in early trading before edging back slightly.

Deliveroo riders from the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain near Shoreditch, east London, as they go on strike
Deliveroo riders from the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain near Shoreditch, east London, as they go on strike (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

It is the first day that retail investors have been able to trade shares in the business, however institutional investors have been able to trade in the stock since conditional trading started a week ago.

The industrial action follows recent campaigns by those in the gig economy to be classed as workers and so receive better pay and conditions.

Unions won legal action recently against ride hailing firm Uber.

Scores of riders joined a protest in London, including Jake Thomas, 21, who has worked for Deliveroo for three years.

He said: “It’s got to the point where it’s not financially viable, we can’t make minimum wage, we can’t make ends meet.

“We’re not getting the support we need, we’re not getting the pay we need so we’re coming out to show investors and the public what is actually going on under the surface.”

Another driver, Ian, 29, said: “I’m just protesting for basic rights, better working conditions, safer working conditions.

Deliveroo riders from the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain in Shoreditch High Street, east London, as they go on strike
Deliveroo riders in Shoreditch High Street (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

“The over-hiring of staff has affected things drastically – there’s less jobs for us full-time employees.

“The pay has dropped, we don’t get paid for waiting, and we also have to pay expenses, so it all adds up.”

Alex Marshall, president of the IWGB and a former bicycle courier, said: “Deliveroo presents a false choice between flexibility and basic rights but the Uber ruling showed that, here as well as abroad, workers can have both.”

Greg Howard, a Deliveroo rider and an official of the IWGB, said: “I’m going on strike for my basic rights and those of all the other riders struggling to get by and support families on Deliveroo poverty pay.”

Deliveroo said it surveyed 8,500 riders on Tuesday and 89% said they were satisfied working for the company.

When asked what are the most important factors when working with Deliveroo, the top answer was ‘Working when I like’, followed by ‘Working where I like’ and ‘The ability to choose which orders I accept’, said Deliveroo.

‘How much money I make’ was number five, said a spokeswoman.

She added: “This small self-appointed union does not represent the vast majority of riders who tell us they value the total flexibility they enjoy while working with Deliveroo alongside the ability to earn over £13 an hour.

“Only yesterday we ran a survey and 89% of riders said that they were happy with the company and flexibility was their priority.

“We are proud that rider satisfaction is at an all-time high and that thousands of people are applying to be Deliveroo riders each and every week.

“Riders are at the heart of our business and today we are beginning a new consultation with riders about how we should invest our new £50 million community fund.”