Deliveroo drivers have called a strike over proposed changes to their contracts, pay and conditions. Currently drivers earn £7/hour + £1/delivery. Deliveroo want to ditch the hourly rate, and move to a piece rate system, where drivers would only earn £3.75/delivery.
The strike started at 17:00 on Wednesday 10th August, as hundreds of drivers gathered outside the Deliveroo Head Office on Torrington Place, WC1.
On Thursday 11th August, this action was repeated, and drivers gathered again at 17:00, for a big, noisy demonstration, which quickly got the attention of Management.
The IWGB Couriers & Logistics Branch, which represents Deliveroo drivers, came down on Thursday to support striking drivers.
Due to the noise and numbers present, Management sought to calm the crowd by inviting individuals inside for negotiations, but the drivers remained united and wholly rejected this offer, claiming instead they want collective bargaining.
Management also offered for 15 delegates to go inside to discuss the issues, but this was rejected too, because it was reported that when drivers went inside on Wednesday, perhaps 20 of them, that they were all seen as the ringleaders, and promptly sacked.
After much too-ing and fro-ing, Couriers from the CLB offered to represent drivers inside as a delegation, since they did not work for Deliveroo and therefore could not be sacked.
The group of striking drivers agreed on a collective demand of a minimum of the London Living Wage, plus £1/delivery, plus tips, plus costs. They also wanted protection from any victimisation. This mandate was passed to the Couriers Delegation, and they went inside for 30 minutes to negotiate.
The negotiations were brief and were as follows.
- Drivers do not understand the new pay structure
- The new pay structure follows feedback from drivers that they want more flexibility
- There will be no more shifts, drivers will be able to work whenever they want
- 80% of drivers surveyed in an internal poll, use Deliveroo work to supplement their income or have other jobs
- In areas where Deliveroo have trialed the new system, drivers like it
- The proposal is also a trial for zones in North and North-East London, ie: it’s not necessarily a permanent change
- It takes on average 15 minutes to do an order at the moment, so £3.75 is adequate pay for this amount of time
- The new system will reward people who work very hard
- Drivers who are working 140 hours/week at the moment are averaging >2.5 orders/hour
- Drivers will easily make £12-13/hour at peak times (lunch and dinner)
- Deliveroo operate small 2.2km delivery zones, which are optimum for short-distance work
- It’s easy for drivers to complete 4 orders/hour, so if drivers work at peak times they’ll do very, very well
- Deliveroo aren’t incentivised to hire lots more drivers because then drivers will leave and our service will be affected
- Drivers do understand the new pay structure
- Drivers have been threatened with job loss if they don’t sign up to the new agreement on Wednesday 17th August
- Drivers are at risk of earning between £0/hour and less than the National Minimum Wage, because the new system doesn’t count standing by for an order as actual work. The piece rate only considers “work” as collecting the item and dropping it off, not the time it takes to a) wait for a delivery or b) driving to the pick up address. There are often times when drivers complete just 1 delivery/hour, meaning they’ll earn just £3.75/hour under the new scheme.
- When drivers are waiting for a delivery, this is work, because drivers are providing a service to Deliveroo; they are “on call” just as any other tradesperson is, who receives payment for that time.
- Drivers want to retain the existing hourly+commission based payment system because the current fluctuation in wages is more manageable and therefore it offers them more jobs security. Earning between £9-£10/hour is much more manageable than earning between £0-£13/hour.
- The new piece rate creates an absurd set of incentives for work. It will disproportionately benefit the faster drivers and will inevitably incur risk.
- Just because some drivers in some areas enjoy the flexibility, doesn’t mean Deliveroo should roll it out across North London, where drivers prefer the reliability and routine.
- Ultimately, a shift to a piece rate will result in a pay cut for drivers and this is unacceptable. Drivers have rent and bills to pay, families to feed, as well as the costs of running their bicycle or scooter. These costs should be fronted or covered by Deliveroo.
- Deliveroo drivers like anyone in London, deserve the London Living Wage + costs as a minimum for self-employed people, who are not currently entitled to paid holidays, sick pay or pensions.
- Deliveroo drivers demand zero victimisation of any striking or protesting driver
In negotiations, Deliveroo Management rejected the drivers demand for the LLW+costs, saying it would be impossible to improve on the £7/hr+£1/delivery setup, and that drivers will not get the London Living Wage. However, they did agree that there would no repercussions from tonight’s action, including no sackings.
Negotiations took 30 minutes, and Management was left with the drivers’ demands, which are:
- The London Living Wage (£9.40/hour) + costs, +tips, +£1/delivery
- No victimisation of any protesting or striking driver and the reinstatement of everyone who has been sacked thus far (reportedly on Wednesday).
When drivers heard the news that the Management had rejected their demands, they drove off around London to take their message to restaurants. Drivers visited Busaba, Byron, Pizza Express and Wagamama, to name a few.
The strike continues today (Friday 12th August) at 17:00 outside Torrington Place, WC1, until the Deliveroo Management agree to the drivers’ demands, or offer them something they can accept.
Contact – Chair of the IWGB Couriers & Logistics Branch on 07957934250