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Delivery Riders Plan to Strike on Valentine’s Day

On Valentine's Day, companies like Uber Eats and Deliveroo prepare themselves to combat thousands of drivers going on strike. Historically, February 14th is one of the busiest days for the food delivery apps. However, amidst the ongoing cost-of- living crisis in several countries, drivers across North America and the UK are gearing up to go on strike. This strike is being organised by Delivery Job UK, a grassroots group aiming to improve the lives of delivery drivers, and fight for transparency between companies and their drivers.


Delivery apps have long struggled with maintaining transparency regarding the amount customers pay and how much reaches the driver. Many believe that over the years, the amount a driver receives has gone down. The companies themselves are in a dilemma as they face pressure from investors to make a sustained profit, however, they have managed to narrow losses. 


Rodeo, an app which collects earnings information from delivery riders, reported that Just Eats and Uber Eats have ‘secretly cut’ earnings by 9% and 2% respectively. They have also called out Deliveroo for its lack of transparency regarding earnings information; Deliveroo has taken measures to make it harder to access earnings data under the guise of “Protection of user data.” 


The other problems riders face

In November 2023, the UK Supreme Court ruled that riders and delivery companies were not in an employment relationship. What this meant was riders are not entitled to certain privileges which regular employees have. Therefore, riders are not allowed to form unions and take action for ‘collective bargaining.’ 


However, this has not stopped riders from striking in informal ways. There were strikes across various cities in the UK, with Rodeo stating that the delivery apps lost a significant amount of revenue, for the 5 hours that the strikes lasted. 


What have the companies said? 

After the ruling in November, Deliveroo praised the verdict as it allowed the riders to make a choice as to whether they wanted to deliver or not. However, it should be noted that Deliveroo pulled out of Spain when its apex court ruled that delivery riders should have the right to collective negotiation. 


In conversation with the Financial Times, Uber, Lyft and Deliveroo have said they remain committed to improving the rider experience, as well as noting that more and more riders are signing up to become ‘partners.’ 


Photo by Robert Anasch on Unsplash

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