Deliveroo strike

Deliveroo riders took to the streets of Manchester yesterday for the second time in two weeks to demand better pay and conditions. The strikes in Manchester are co-ordinated with a series of walk outs across the UK and Europe demanding better treatment of workers by the multinational food delivery service.

Riders covering the Manchester centre zone gathered outside Deliveroo’s Manchester offices on Redhill Street, Ancoats at 11 am. The Industrial Workers of the World Union (IWW) helped the rider’s co-ordinate their strike, and the Deliveroo strikers in Manchester were joined in solidarity by Bradford Members of the IWW. After demonstrating outside the Deliveroo offices the strikers and supporters moved on to St Peter’s Square.

The strike action yesterday follows hot on the heels of the first walk-out by Manchester Deliveroo riders on Valentine’s Day. The IWW union estimated that around 40 riders, representing 80% of Deliveroo’s cohort of lunch-time couriers, joined the 14 February picket, which was shared across social media with the #NoLoveForDeliveroo hashtag.

The demands of the Deliveroo workers’ yesterday were unchanged from those on Valentines day. They called for an increase to £5 per delivery and £8 for double deliveries, when a restaurant has two orders going to different customers. Currently riders say then can receive as little as £3.80 for a single order and £6 for a double one. Prior to Deliveroo changing their operating model, riders claim they were getting between £4.50 and £5.00 for a single order.

Striking riders also want to be paid £10 an hour for time spent waiting for orders. Presently, riders only get paid when they deliver an order, but they say they can spend 20-30 minutes waiting in restaurants for an order to be ready.

Deliveroo strike
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Other demands include a minimum £1 for every additional mile travelled outside the Manchester city centre zone and equal access to orders for motorcyclists. A few months ago, Deliveroo changed their system so that riders with motorcyclists accounts stopped getting the same access to orders as those with cyclist accounts.

Andy Nesbitt, North West organiser for IWW, said that the nature of riders’ work means they are vulnerable to thieves. “They are often targeted by people looking to steal bikes, phones, mopeds because they’re a relatively easy target.”

He added: “These are self-employed workers who have to pay for their phone contract, their data, their bike, other stuff and it [their pay] really doesn’t cover it.”

Zahid, one of the riders on strike, said: “Deliveroo refuses to provide adequate cover for illness incurred on the job and the money we make per delivery is decreasing at a time when inflation increases. This must change.”

During the first strike on 14 February, riders initially picketed Deliveroo’s Redhill Street offices in Ancoats. When they arrived, they found that Deliveroo had locked their gates and sent workers at the office home.

The riders then made their way to Deliveroo’s other city centre offices at Peter House next to St. Peter’s Square, but members of staff refused to come out and speak to them. Riders reported that restaurants who kept their Deliveroo accounts on during the strike experienced back-ups of orders.

Deliveroo were contacted for comment but failed to respond.


Robert Firth

Featured Image: IWW/Dan Spink

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