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UBEREATS couriers in Glasgow went on strike yesterday, saying their meagre piece rates mean they’re paid less than the minimum wage.
The gig economy workers gathered outside the company’s office on Buchanan Street after UberEats scrapped a “boost” to the basic rate of pay.
UberEats couriers are paid £2.80 per delivery, rising to around £4 if they have to travel longer distances, but this so-called boost has been dramatically reduced or done away with altogether in Glasgow, according to the Couriers Network union.
Strikers are asking for a commitment from Uber that the minimum payment for delivery will not drop below £4 to ensure hourly minimum wage can be met.
A spokesman for the Couriers Network, which is affiliated to the Industrial Workers of the World, told the Star the work itself is “pretty rewarding” and that most enjoy it.
But he said: “The piecework model of UberEats and the way that payment is structured can mean we struggle to pay rent, bills and living expenses in times when there are not many orders around.
“When payment is low, couriers can often be encouraged to cycle and drive more dangerously to try to make minimum wage, which is bad for everyone’s safety and particularly for other road users.
“Collective action led directly by couriers themselves is the only real way that the bosses will listen to us.”
He said they have tried engaging with the company but received only “complete silence” in response.
“We haven’t heard anything at all about their response to a strike being called in Glasgow, through unionised couriers, for the first time ever,” he added.
“They refuse to acknowledge that couriers are having problems and that a union has formed in response to this.”
Couriers covered their faces with dust masks as a precaution against expected victimisation for the action, he said.
“The bosses really seem to have their heads in the sand, waiting for this all to blow over, but couriers are really angry at the situation and are committed to working together so that it can be solved,” he said.
“They’ve underestimated us and the power of collective action.”
Campaigners say the Glasgow strike, which follows others around Britain, is likely to be the first of a series of actions.
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