The Roo Riders are rising and organising in the IWW to fight for a better deal from Deliveroo.
Inspired by their Fellow Workers & the IWGB in London(1), Bristol Deliveroo fleet has started organising as part of the IWW to demand changes to the way they are treated by their employer.
Over the last year, Deliveroo has changed. They used to listen to their staff, who in turn ‘went the extra mile’ to make the company a success. Then came nearly half a billion dollars in investment from hyper-capitalist hedge funds(2), which Deliveroo is using to expand across the globe.
Now, Deliveroo need to provide a return on that investment, and Bristol Roo Riders feel that they are the ones getting squeezed, along with restaurant suppliers.
Here are some of the problems the riders face:
Bad terms and conditions:
- The staff (or “partners” as Deliveroo calls them) are asked to sign a self-employed contract, despite the fact that in the eyes of many (even the Tory government!(3) this is forcing “their staff down routes which deny them the employment rights and benefits they are entitled to”.
- The contract is so one-sided and unreasonable, the riders end up with some of the worst terms and conditions in Western Europe.
- The contract demands riders give up their statutory right to an employment tribunal if the company mistreats them (for example, discriminating against their race, sexuality or disability), if they claim to be an employee or worker. (4)
- Mistakes in pay are all-too common, partly due to convoluted invoices, and there is no set frequency for payment. Mysteriously, riders report, the errors almost always seem to be in the company’s favour….
- Rider’s terms and conditions are constantly changed, without any formal consultation or reasonable notice, and riders are routinely only notified via a message in a busy WhatsApp group that has over 250 members.
- Deliveroo mostly pay their fleet via a delivery rate (piece work) but there are a few people who are paid a lower delivery rate and an hourly rate which is below the standard National Minimum Wage. These “lucky few” are constantly shifted between certain time periods and may not log out of the app (in effect the only way to leave work) when these shifts are in place. This is despite their ‘self employed’ contract stating they can pick their own working hours.
- Riders used to be able to call the Deliveroo contact centre and receive statistics to show availability in their area – this would then help them decide whether to make themselves available for work. Then, riders were told they could no longer call the contact centre, and so now can unknowingly log on to work when their zone is overattended where they may only receive one order in an hour’s availability. This means they earn less than the National Minimum Wage – something Deliveroo promised would never happen.
- Delivero Trainers receive no formal training, and until they organised to complain, were being given up to 8 trainees to shadow them on a delivery – and then paid no extra premium for carrying out the training.
- Deliveroo promise to pay the trainer for each person who tries out, however payment sometimes never arrive and are based upon filling out a form for each of the trainees before midnight on the day of the trial. Work finishes at 11:30pm so each trainer must finish their last delivery then make it home in time to submit up to 20 forms before midnight. This can potentially lead to trainers not getting paid for the work they have done.
- Office staff have become increasingly detatched
Bad for scooter riders:
- Scooter riders feel certain they are given longer deliveries that benefit from their speed of service (the company denies this), and are given less “double deliveries”, yet are on the same payment rate as cyclists, despite higher overheads through road tax and insurance. Unbelievably, in the 21st Century, scooter riders are only paid mileage ‘as the crow flies’, despite free apps being widely available that can calculate the correct distance! They are also not paid for their time to travel to the next pickup.
Bad for cycle riders:
- Anyone who has cycled in the centre of Bristol knows how dangerous the roads are when you’re on two wheels. Yet, by denying cyclists the right to sick pay, or by offering any form of company insurance, an accident for a Roo Rider is not just physically painful – it can be a financial headache as well, with many being forced to rely on friends and family to subsidise them while they cannot work.
As part of their unfair contract, Deliveroo riders are forbidden to express any criticism of the company, in any form, which effectively removes their right to “blow the whistle” on bad practices without the threat of dismissal. One rider writes anonymously:
“If you are a courier for Deliveroo you get paid per delivery and not by the hour. You can also turn up to work at any time and go home at any time. This means that the ratio of couriers to available deliveries is critical in terms of w
“Enough!” the riders say! Enough with the unfair contract, the bad communication, the bad training!
“Enough” say the scooter riders!
“Enough” say the cycle riders!
All the riders want is respect
If you are a Roo Rider, in Bristol or anywhere else, join the IWW today and stand tall with your Fellow Workers! Look for a duck sticker on fellow riders bags to find out more, or email email@example.com to talk to an IWW organiser.
(1) – https://iwgbclb.wordpress.com/
(2) – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deliveroo
(3) – https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/oct/20/hmrc-launch-crackdown-gig-economy-firms-agency-self-employed-staff