Takeaway delivery riders to strike on Valentine's Day, demanding better pay and working conditions

12 February 2024, 22:30 | Updated: 13 February 2024, 11:31

Bike couriers working for online food delivery companies Deliveroo and Uber Eats
Bike couriers working for online food delivery companies Deliveroo and Uber Eats. Picture: Alamy

By Christian Oliver

Deliveroo, Just Eat and Uber Eats delivery drivers are set to strike on Valentine's Day to demand better pay and improved working conditions from the takeaway giants.

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The industrial action will impact four food-ordering apps between 5pm and 10pm on Wednesday and is expected to involve around 3,000 delivery workers.

A grassroots group of couriers, who have organised the action, say they want to draw attention to poor pay and working conditions.

"They think we are nothing. They don't respect us," Delivery Job UK wrote in a post on Instagram announcing the strike.

"Sacrificing a few hours for our rights is essential, instead of continuing to work incessantly for insufficient wages."

"Our request is simple: we want fair compensation for the work we do. We are tired of being exploited and risking our lives every day... It's time for our voices to be heard."

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The group posted the call for industrial action in Portuguese and is orgnaised by predominantly Brazilian couriers.

Deliveroo however said: "Deliveroo aims to provide riders with the flexible work riders tell us they value, attractive earning opportunities and protections. Rider retention rates are high and the overwhelming majority of riders tell us that they are satisfied working with us. We value dialogue with riders, which is why we have a voluntary partnership agreement with a trade union, which includes annual discussions on pay. We are pleased to also be able to offer riders free insurance, sickness cover, financial support when riders become new parents and a range of training opportunities.”

Riders who deliver takeaway food and groceries across the country for Deliveroo, Uber Eats, Just Eat and Stuart.com are all expected to take part in the strike.

Delivery Job UK said its drivers are paid between £2.80 to £3.15 for each delivery. A spokesperson for the group told the BBC that Deliveroo riders wanted this payment to rise to at least £5. This would vary for other apps that use different payment structures.

Delivery app riders and drivers are not officially unionised. GMB, the general trade union in the UK which has over 560,000 members, has an agreement with Deliveroo, however,

The industrial action is expected to go beyond the UK, with Uber and Lyft drivers set to strike in the US for two hours.

Some 130,000 drivers could take part in the US, Justice for App Workers said.

Food delivery riders in Glasgow, Scotland, August 17, 2023
Food delivery riders in Glasgow, Scotland, August 17, 2023. Picture: Alamy

Deliveroo, in a statement, told the BBC: "Riders always earn at least the national living wage, plus vehicle costs, for the time they are working with us, though the vast majority earn far more than this.

"Riders are also automatically insured for free, covering them if they are in an accident or injured while working and receive income protection if they are unwell and cannot work."

Uber Eats told the corporation: "We know that the vast majority of couriers are satisfied with their experience on the app, and we regularly engage with couriers to look at how we can improve their experience."

Just Eat added that it had provided workers "a highly competitive base rate to self-employed couriers and also offer regular incentives to help them maximise their earnings".

"We continue to review our pay structure regularly and welcome any feedback from couriers."

Stuart.com said it is "committed to providing competitive earnings opportunities for courier partners".