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by Matt Trinder
DELIVEROO riders are striking tomorrow for a real living wage, enhanced Covid-19 safety protections and basic workers’ rights to coincide with the company’s listing on the London Stock Exchange.
The Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB) said that socially distanced protests will also be held in London, York, Sheffield, Reading and Wolverhampton.
Supportive action is expected internationally in Australia, France, the Netherlands, Ireland and Spain, underlining the fact that the takeaway giant is now the world’s “most protested app-based platform,” the IWGB said.
Following last month’s revelation that Deliveroo pays some riders, classed as “self-employed,” as little as £2 per hour, at least 12 major investment firms have indicated they will not buy shares in the company as its valuation plummeted from £9 billion to £5.5bn.
Many MPs including former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn have warned that workers and the public are being “put at risk” by Deliveroo’s actions as riders have reported not being able to afford to self-isolate due to a lack of company sick pay.
Competitor Just Eat has already declared its intention to abandon the gig economy model of “bogus” self-employment.
Uber has been compelled to do so for some workers after a Supreme Court victory for the GMB union in February, and victories against Deliveroo have also been won in courts in Spain, Italy and the Netherlands.
IWGB president Alex Marshall said that decent pay and basic workers’ rights were “what the public expects for our front-line workers” during the pandemic.
He added: “By getting organised and speaking out, riders have triggered a domino effect which already slashed £3bn from Deliveroo’s valuation and that should give pause to any corporation that thinks precarious workers can be endlessly exploited.
“It’s time for Deliveroo to do the right thing, recognise its riders as workers and treat them like human beings.”
Deliveroo rider and chairman of the IWGB couriers and logistics branch Greg Howard said: “I’m going on strike for my basic rights and those of all the other riders struggling to get by on poverty pay.
“After the pandemic, more people than ever understand this exploitation is no way to treat anyone, let alone key workers.
“The turning of the tide is clear. It’s time for rights for riders.”
Deliveroo has been contacted for comment.
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