York Deliveroo to strike

Submitted by AWL on 17 April, 2019 - 9:03 Author: Zack, IWGB National Deliveroo Committee Chair

York couriers will strike on Friday 19 April, following previous very impactful strikes.

They will hold a “flash strike”, a tactic aiming to maximise disruptions while minimising pay lost.

They have announced that they will strike between 5 p.m. and 10 p.m., but only three of those five hours, to be announced on the day.

Nottingham couriers held another protest on Friday 12 April, demanding higher pay and better working conditions.

It was organised by Nottingham Riders' Network - IWGB, and comes as part of national rolling actions and strikes. Nottingham have had multiple previous strikes and are planning more on the May Day weekend.

Deliveroo brought an advertising bus into Nottingham that day, distributing food, leaflets, and discount vouchers. The protest was kept secret so that the bus wasn't cancelled, and the protest could have maximum impact. As part of the national rolling strikes, couriers travelled from elsewhere to show solidarity. Several Nottingham-based socialists also joined to show solidarity.

We held a lively rally by the bus, with chants, loudspeakers and flags. We did not discourage members of the public from taking free food, but we did systematically talk to them and give them leaflets about our pay and conditions. Many were shocked and wanted to support our struggles.

Tom Harrington, national Couriers' and Logistics Branch Secretary, said:

“Nottingham riders haven’t just built a union they’ve built a community, and that was apparent on Friday. Riders stood side by side with climate change protesters, volunteers for the homeless, community groups and trade unionists, they shared jokes (and burritos) with their fellow workers employed by the PR company running the bus event. The protest was a lively, good humoured affair, with Deliveroo overwhelmingly coming across as the bad guy”.

Deliveroo have been spending vast amounts of money on promotion for expansion, while riders have seen falling hourly pay. We know Deliveroo are feeling the pressure. By undermining Deliveroo's advertising campaign, this protest put more pressure on.

We’ve won some small steps forward in Bristol, Nottingham and elsewhere. But we won’t be placated and we won’t go away until we properly win our demands for higher pay.

To the press, Deliveroo reiterated their classic claim that “Deliveroo riders earn on average over £10 per hour”. Doing pay analysis on our members in Bristol, so far we've found that the average has been below that for half a year. In January, before we hit them with three strikes, it had fallen to below £8/hour, significantly less still if you take into account the costs of being “self-employed”. At best Deliveroo have been doing extremely creative accounting.

Greg Howard, chair of the NRN-IWGB said:

“Deliveroo use false mathematics to calculate average rider earnings, these don’t factor in the costs of being self employed. Our riders are earning well below the national living wage. We continue to campaign in Nottingham for minimum base fee and distance fee increases, along with paid restaurant waits.

“Today, Tuesday 16 April, we will send a demand letter to Deliveroo and request that they meet with us to discuss prior to full strike on 4 May.”

Our first national bilingual bulletin, puncture, has been well received.

There is a transnational “platform economy” couriers' conference to be held the 25-26 April, in Barcelona. The format looks like one of discussions with academic-sounding-titles, rather than attempting to move towards collective discussions.

However, four Deliveroo couriers and IWGB members will go, and it will be a good opportunity to make links, to hear about other people's struggles, and to tell them about ours.

• Donate to our strike fund

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