Couriers working for food delivery service Deliveroo take legal steps to gain workers’ rights.
Deliveroo drivers, much like their counterparts at Hermes, Amazon, Uber, etc, are part of the growing ‘gig’ economy, where firms pay individuals for a one-off activity, such as the delivery of a takeaway. This is instead of being paid by the hour or a salary and, thus, becoming an employee of the firm.
Being paid per delivery has its benefits in terms of flexible working arrangements, you can decline a job if you wish, but can restrict earnings should there be a slow day/lack of demand. As a result, drivers at Deliveroo complain that they often earn below the national living wage per hour. In addition, as they are paid per ‘gig’ and not as employees they are not entitled to worker protection measures such as holiday pay, sick pay, pension contributions, etc.
The Independent Workers of Great Britain is expanding as a result of the booming gig economy and is seeking to become recognised as a union by the likes of Deliveroo in order to engage in collective bargaining and protect the rights of this growing number of workers. Unsurprisingly, firms are resistant and instead are keen to stress the benefits of such employment, i.e. flexibility and the potential to earn more than if you were paid by the hour or a salary. However, it is obvious to all that this is a way for firms to keep costs down.