Valentine's Day food deliveries are set to be hit by a widespread courier strike as thousands of drivers from popular apps such as Deliveroo and Uber Eats plan to strike.
Delivery Job UK, a grassroots organization with thousands of members in London, has called for strike action on February 14 to demand better pay and working conditions. It hopes to highlight insecurity and lower pay in the food delivery industry.
Those employed in the delivery driver industry are classed as self-employed, meaning their employers can pay them less than the statutory minimum wage – currently £10.42 an hour.
Delivery Job UK shared on X: “This Valentine's Day strike highlights the growing tensions between gig economy workers and the platforms they work for. As consumers, it is important to consider the conditions under which our amenities are provided.
“Let us stand in solidarity with those who fight for fair wages and better working conditions. It's more than just a meal at stake – it's about the dignity and rights of every worker.”
In November the Independent Workers' Union of Great Britain, which represented gig economy workers, lost its High Court battle to be able to unionize and bargain on behalf of riders as they were deemed not to be ‘workers'.
Delivery drivers in the UK have complained about a lack of clarity and different payments for jobs that usually offer a flat minimum rate with an additional payment fee.
Rodeo, a data collection app that allows riders to compare their payouts, found that earnings fell in 2022 and 2023 despite high inflation. Deliveroo does not allow workers to upload their details.
Talking to you the guardian, Dr Callum Cant from the Internet Institute at the University of Oxford expressed his concerns about the reduction in wages and the lack of attention for workers, who he described as “invisible”.
A Deliveroo spokesman told the newspaper: “Deliveroo aims to provide riders with the flexible working they tell us they value, attractive earning opportunities and protection.
“Thousands of people apply to work with Deliveroo every month, rider retention rates are high and the vast majority of our riders say they are satisfied working with us.”
An Uber Eats spokesperson said: “We offer a flexible way for couriers to earn using the app when and where they choose. We know that the vast majority of couriers are satisfied with their app experience.”