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Deliveroo gives at least 100 couriers the sack for Christmas

The Industrial Workers of the World said the riders found out they were getting the sack via email, a move the union described as ‘completely heartless’

AT LEAST 100 couriers have been sacked by gig economy giant Deliveroo over the last week, a trade union has revealed.

The pre-Christmas sacking spree has seen a purge of Deliveroo workers across Britain, from Glasgow to Leicester and Sheffield.

Deliveroo told the Star that it had fired riders “who mark hundreds of pounds worth of food as delivered only a few seconds after collecting a meal at a restaurant.”

In other cases, the riders allegedly “have not travelled near a customer’s address and yet still claim to have made a delivery” or “caused dozens of customer complaints over a short period about meals not being delivered.”

However Jamie Johnson, a 24-year-old courier from Sheffield who was sacked by Deliveroo yesterday, said he had been “falsely accused of defrauding the company.”

Mr Johnson said he was in “absolute disbelief” at the allegations. He was laid off without any warning or right of reply, he said.

In a frantic message to Deliveroo, the distraught young courier said “I have rent and bills to pay. It’s Christmas and I have to put food on the table.” He begged the food app giant to “please show some compassion.”

Speaking to the Star, Mr Johnson said he has now submitted a Subject Access Request to Deliveroo boss Will Shu.

Under data protection laws, Mr Johnson is entitled to any personal information the company holds about him, which should include details of his deliveries.

The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) Couriers Network said Mr Johnson was not alone, and that around 100 riders had received identical emails from Deliveroo.

Chris Fear, lead organiser of the IWW Couriers Network, said “This mass termination of couriers just days before Christmas is completely heartless. Hundreds of people across the country have lost their jobs, all receiving exactly the same template email.

“We’ve all heard the gig economy referred to as Dickensian, but Will Shu of Deliveroo’s Scrooge impression really takes the biscuit.”

The IWW demanded Deliveroo reinstate the riders, and that any evidence of wrongdoing should be produced.

Tom Harrington, secretary of the Independent Workers of Great Britain's couriers and logistics branch told the Star that: "This callous, draconian round of sackings is almost beyond belief, and serves as a reminder of just how extreme the imbalance of power is between Deliveroo and its workers.

"In the courts, Deliveroo has fought tooth and nail in order to prevent drivers from gaining limb (b) worker status and that’s to ensure their workforce remains completely disposable. The injustice is as clear as day and the answer, as always, is to organise. "

A Deliveroo spokesperson told the Star: “Deliveroo will always tackle fraud head on to protect our customers and the vast majority of hardworking riders. We will not work with riders who commit fraud.

“Anyone who falsely claims to have delivered food to customers denies people the food they have paid for and the great service they rightly expect.

“We are proud of the amazing work our riders do and will not allow this to be undermined by a tiny number of riders who have committed fraud.”

The sackings come at the end of a long year for Deliveroo workers, who have taken the company to court in a bid to secure trade union recognition.

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