Deliveroo riders from Wolverhampton gathered in the city centre to strike as part of a pay and conditions dispute.
The protest at Wolverhampton Civic Centre was organised by the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain and coincided with Deliveroo’s Initial Public Offering (IPO) on the London Stock Exchange.
The union has called for ‘fair terminations, income and health and safety protection for riders’. Scores of riders also gathered at protests in London, York, Sheffield and Reading.
Alex Marshall, President (IWGB) and former bicycle courier, said: “Deliveroo presents a false choice between flexibility and basic rights but the Uber ruling showed that here as well as abroad, workers can have both. That is the least they deserve and what the public expects for our frontline workers.
“They said it couldn’t be done but by getting organised and speaking out, riders have triggered a domino effect which already slashed £3 billion from Deliveroo’s valuation and that should give pause to any corporation that thinks precarious workers can be endlessly exploited without consequence. It’s time for Deliveroo to do the right thing, recognise its riders as workers and treat them like human beings.”
Greg Howard, Deliveroo rider and chair, Couriers & Logistics Branch (IWGB) says: “I’m striking for my basic rights and those of all the other riders struggling to get by and support families on Deliveroo poverty pay. I’ve seen conditions decline for years and then working through lockdown I contracted Covid-19 and got very little support from Deliveroo.
“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.”
In response to the protests, a spokeswoman for Deliveroo said the company surveyed 8,500 riders on Tuesday (April 6) and 89% said they were satisfied working for the company.
She added: “This small self-appointed union does not represent the vast majority of riders who tell us they value the total flexibility they enjoy while working with Deliveroo alongside the ability to earn over £13 an hour.
“Only yesterday we ran a survey and 89% of riders said that they were happy with the company and flexibility was their priority.
“We are proud that rider satisfaction is at an all-time high and that thousands of people are applying to be Deliveroo riders each and every week.
“Riders are at the heart of our business and today we are beginning a new consultation with riders about how we should invest our new £50 million community fund.”
In the survey, when asked what are the most important factors when working with Deliveroo, the spokeswoman said the top answer was ‘Working when I like’, followed by ‘Working where I like’ and ‘The ability to choose which orders I accept’.
‘How much money I make’ was number five, she added.