Kicking off this wave of rolling strikes and other actions for better pay from Deliveroo, on 5 April Nottingham Riders’ Network-IWGB held a distribution event of food and other supplies for homeless people.
Getting food donations from various restaurants, and working with a local homelessness charity, they distributed them to rough sleepers they could find around the city. As well as directly providing some relief to homeless people, this raised the profile both of the problem of homelessness – which has risen sharply in recent years – and of NRN-IWGB and their struggles.
NRN-IWGB raised their struggle when promoting what they dubbed a “Fast, Food Kitchen”: “Whilst Deliveroo creams off the profit and refuses to negotiate with staff on pay and conditions, Nottingham Riders Network - IWGB did their city and fellow couriers proud holding a pop-up kitchen to feed our homeless community. Many of us are just one pay cheque away from being on the streets - we demand decent living and working conditions for all."
In a very small way, workers using the skills and resources they use on the job for more socially useful ends than what we normally do points towards workers’ control.
Seriously tackling homelessness requires building combative movements to force higher wages, securer jobs, and much better public provision and services, from social housing to benefits and beyond. Likewise, better pay from Deliveroo has and will be ultimately won by directly taking them on, through sustained strike action. NRN-IWGB recognise this and are planning to strike in early May.
“Fast, Food Kitchen”, as in part a publicity stunt, can contribute towards both ends, raising the profile of homelessness and the struggle against our employer. It is a shame, although perhaps not surprising, that local news coverage of the event seems to have only mentioned their past struggles over pay in passing. It hasn’t made clear the links between fighting for better pay and fighting homelessness that NRN-IWGB has.
The week that the “Fast, Food Kitchen” took place, Deliveroo nationally was late in paying many couriers by around two days. Couriers are paid weekly, and the widespread anger that couriers were directing towards Deliveroo for this delay highlights how precarious many couriers’ financial situations are.
The first issue of our new bilingual national bulletin, Puncture/Ruptura, has now been printed and is being distributed, mostly hand-to-hand in restaurants. Read it online here.