Deliveroo runners set off flares outside London headquarters of striking company over wages and terms | Economic news

Will Shu will initially have 20 votes per share against one vote per share for other stakeholders.  Pic: Deliveroo

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Workers at the meal delivery platform Deliveroo went on strike in London on Wednesday, calling for better pay and better working conditions.

Scooter and bicycle delivery men waved flags and set off red rockets as they walked through the streets of central London, while social distancing protests were also planned in York, Reading, Sheffield and Wolverhampton.

Britain’s Independent Workers’ Union, which organized the protests, told Sky News it had hundreds of Deliveroo runners as paid members.

Freelance Workers Union of Great Britain Deliveroo riders protested in east London
The economy gig riders for Deliveroo demonstrated outside the company’s London headquarters. Pic: AP

Earlier this year, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism analyzed the bills of more than 300 runners, finding that one in three earned less than £ 8.72 an hour – the minimum wage for those over 25 – and some earned as little as £ 2 an hour.

Deliveroo said they surveyed 8,500 runners this week and nearly 90% were happy working for the company.

A company spokesperson said: “This small, self-proclaimed union does not represent the vast majority of runners who tell us they appreciate the total flexibility they get when working with Deliveroo, as well as the opportunity to earn more. £ 13 an hour.

“We are proud that pilot satisfaction is at an all time high and that thousands of people apply to become Deliveroo pilots every week. “

The strike coincided with the first day of unconditional stock trading for the company, which went public last week.

the the IPO had been a disappointment, after a number of institutional investors skipped it, citing concerns about terms of employment and a two-class shareholder program that gives founder Will Shu greater control.

Shares fell 30%, erasing more than £ 2bn from the company’s initial valuation of £ 7.6bn – just over a week after its estimate at up to £ 8.8 billion.

But the shares closed 2.1% higher on Wednesday after restrictions on sales were lifted and members of the public were able to buy them.

However, Deliveroo runners who witnessed the strikes said the company’s success was made possible through their hard work.

Wave Roberts, a pilot for Deliveroo in Reading and vice president of the union’s couriers arm, said “the success they claim to have had during the pandemic was built on our backs.”

He said, “It’s not sustainable. It’s to the point where they’ve hired too many people. They have lowered the fees too much. “

The two-class share structure gives founder Will Shu greater control. Pic: Deliveroo

Deliveroo operates in a dozen countries in Europe, the Middle East and Asia and it has benefited during the pandemic as restaurants and take-out have been closed in many places as part of the government’s efforts to limit the spread of coronavirus.

Alex Marshall, President of the IWGB and former bicycle courier, said: “Deliveroo presents a false choice between flexibility and fundamental rights but Uber stop has shown that workers here and abroad can have both.

“It’s the least they deserve and what the public expects from our frontline workers. ”

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