Bristol food couriers strike

Submitted by martin on 24 January, 2019 - 10:28 Author: A Bristol courier
Deliveroo strike

A strike by Deliveroo riders in Bristol on Friday 18 January caused significant disruption, with
riders invading several restaurants, despite Deliveroo offering pay boosts to undercut the
strike.

We re organising for future strikes and protests, repeated and escalating until we win better pay. ′
Deliveroo riders are paid per delivery only and are classified as “self­employed independent contractors”
rather than employees or even self­employed limb (b) workers , so we have no minimum wage per hour, ″ ″
pension, or holiday or sick pay. (On the other hand, we aren’t shackled by anti­union laws.)

We take on many of the risks and costs — such as equipment — that employers often would, and should,
cover.

The amount a Deliveroo courier can earn per week has steadily reduced as Deliveroo s operations have ′
expanded. Average delivery distance is longer, and pay per delivery has not kept up with that: since
summer it has even decreased. The extra pay for longer distances is meagre, and seems to average around
10-­15p per mile.

We are also angry about not being paid during the persistent long wait times at restaurants, which can
add up to hours per shift. Deliveroo has consistently over­hired new couriers, reducing the availability of
work and allowing Deliveroo to push down the pay per delivery as we are all more desperate to take any
work offered.

We believe they receive on average £10 or more per order, but we receive around £4.

Courier demands include a minimum payment of £5 per order, higher pay per distance of £1 per mile
travelled, paid waiting time of £10 per hour (or roughly 17p per minute), no victimisation for riders going
on strike, and an immediate hiring freeze on new riders, as well as more information on pay, levels of
demand, and order location from Deliveroo.

Around 150 people took part in the protest, perhaps 120 couriers and 30 supporters. A slight majority of
the couriers present were cyclists, and with the rest motorcyclists, plus one car. We ve had difficulty ′
reaching out to car couriers, in part because they are less easily recognisable at work. We estimate that
another 100 or so people refused to work but stayed at home.

This work­ stoppage hit Deliveroo s operations across Bristol, with many restaurants unable to deliver ′
through the company. The impact was probably smaller than the previous spontaneous strike in December,
partly because it was publicised in advance, and so Deliveroo were able to advertise pay boosts.

There has been comparatively low demand for food delivery services through the holiday period and
since, and so many couriers felt desperate to work.

We invaded four chain restaurants — Mission Burrito, Wagamama s, KFC and Itsu — who subcontract ′
delivery services using Deliveroo. Managers for all four restaurants called up Deliveroo to complain about
this, putting pressure on Deliveroo to pay us better so we don t do it again. ′

The vibe of the protest overall was energetic, angry and constructive; and it received good media
coverage. Many couriers now feel more inspired for future action.

This strike was organised through the Bristol Couriers Network (BCN), partly off the back of a previous strike in October.

We ve organised a couple of meetings, and then spread the word through talking to riders at restaurants ′
and with billingual English and Brazilian­ Portuguese leaflets.

Brazillian motorcyclists are a significant proportion of Deliveroo s operation in Bristol. They have quite a high degree of communication and sense of community among themselves. The impressive spontaneous strike in December was organised by them and supported by BCN. They organise informally and through “organic” leadership.

The boosts on Saturday and Sunday — offered in Bristol alone — were already a small win for the strike.

We need to build on this, in Bristol and beyond.

We need to build a sizeable strike fund to support this. We can win.

Contacts:

Strike fund
BCN facebook
BCN email
Petition

See a follow up article here (30 January) and here (6 February), or more generally here

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