Delivery riders to join strike over '˜dangerously poor' pay

Bike couriers working for Uber Eats are set to stage an all-day strike in Scotland this week amid complaints over pay, which they claim is often under minimum wage.

Sunday, 30th September 2018, 12:30 am
Updated Sunday, 30th September 2018, 12:21 pm
Uber Eats couriers are calling for a minimum drop fee of £5 a delivery. Photograph: Getty Images

More than 50 riders will meet in central Glasgow at noon on Thursday to start the strike, which is to be held at the same time as walkouts in other UK cities including London and Cardiff.

A simultaneous strike of hospitality workers employed at chains including Wetherspoon and McDonald’s will also take place.

Uber Eats riders are calling for a minimum “drop” fee of £5 a delivery, which they say would help them bring their average hourly pay up to around £10 an hour.

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A spokesman for the Glasgow strike, which is working with the IWW Couriers Network that represents workers in the so-called “gig economy”, said riders needed to take risks to deliver enough orders to make a living.

“Our requests are simple,” he said. “A courier who is paid fairly is a courier who is safe, who can pay the bills and who doesn’t need to take dangerous risks on the road.

“The gig economy companies hide behind our self-employed status. They can say it’s our choice to work, that we have control of when to log on and that they have no obligation to pay us minimum wage. They can also hide behind averages, pointing to occasions when riders in any given city have averaged £9-10 per hour, ignoring the unsociable times we’ve had to work or how many hours we’ve been logged on to achieve that average.”

One rider said the “boost rate” paid to riders for a delivery in Glasgow has fallen in recent months.

“It used to be around 1.3, which meant we were getting £4 per delivery and recently, over the summer, it’s been more like 1.1, which leaves us with more like £2.80 to £3,” he said, adding a typical rate of two deliveries an hour would be standard.

A spokesman for Uber Eats, which was last week reported to be considering an acquisition of rival Deliveroo, said there had been a temporary problem with the riders’ app that meant it did not show the true “boost rate”.

He said: “This summer, couriers using our app in Scotland took home an average of between £9 and £10 per hour, with many also using other delivery apps.”