Delivery drivers for food apps including Deliveroo and Uber Eats are planning a strike on Valentine’s Day to demand better pay and improved working conditions. The strike, which could involve up to 3,000 drivers and riders, is scheduled to take place between 5pm and 10pm GMT. The protest is being organised by a grassroots group of couriers, many of whom are Brazilian. They aim to highlight the poor pay and working conditions faced by many riders delivering food and groceries across the UK.
The group, Delivery Job UK, stated on its Instagram page that they are seeking fair compensation for their work and are tired of being exploited. The strike will also affect Just Eat and Stuart.com, with couriers planning to refuse to accept orders. Similar action is planned in the US, where drivers for Uber, Lyft and other food delivery firms plan to halt work for two hours.
Delivery Job UK stated that its riders often have to brave harsh weather conditions and travel long distances for low pay. A spokesperson for the group claimed that Deliveroo riders want a minimum pay increase to £5. The spokesperson also alleged that couriers often face violence on the streets, particularly in the evenings.
Joe, a courier who plans to join the strike, described the work as “incredibly isolating” and said many migrant workers are unable to challenge the conditions. Callum Cant, a lecturer at Essex University who has written about the gig economy, stated that changes to fees have led to a 40% drop in real wages for couriers since 2018.
In response, Deliveroo stated that its riders always earn at least the national living wage plus vehicle costs and are automatically insured. Uber Eats said it offers a flexible way for couriers to earn using its app. Just Eat claimed it provides a competitive base rate to self-employed couriers and regularly reviews its pay structure. Stuart.com also stated it is committed to providing competitive earnings opportunities for courier partners.