Deliveroo couriers stage strike in Sheffield on 'busiest day'

Diners went hungry as Deliveroo couriers staged a strike in Sheffield on the 'busiest day' for orders - and workers have threatened further industrial action if their demands are not met.

Tuesday, 3rd September 2019, 09:21 am
Updated Tuesday, 3rd September 2019, 15:06 pm

Drivers and cyclists working for the firm refused to deliver meals on Friday, August 30, between 7pm and 9pm, which they say is the busiest period for orders since it is payday for many workers who are celebrating the start of the weekend.

The strike coincided with industrial action by Deliveroo workers in other cities across the UK and on the opposite side of the globe in Australia, all of whom are demanding better pay and conditions.

They are protesting primarily against a cut in the minimum payment per delivery, which they say has been slashed from £4.25 to below £3 in some cases.

Deliveroo couriers brandish placards during a demonstration in Sheffield

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

But they are also calling for the company to provide what they call 'dignity at work', with other demands including payment for the time couriers spend waiting for food to be prepared and protection from abuse by restaurant workers and customers.

The strike follows the formation last month of the South Yorkshire Courier Network, which was set up with help from the IWGB trade union to give delivery riders in the region a greater voice; the launch of a petition demanding better pay and conditions, which has more than 450 signatures; and a protest in the city centre.

Abdullah Niyazi, who has worked for Deliveroo for around seven months, claimed the strike had been a big success, with around 25 couriers taking part, and he hoped the company would now pay greater attention to couriers' demands.

A protest by Deliveroo drivers in Sheffield

"We only had four riders when we formed the network last month but now that's up to 26, with more joining all the time," said the 29-year-old, of Nether Edge.

"Hopefully this has got Deliveroo's attention and it will send someone from head office to speak to couriers in Sheffield about our rights.

"We have rent and bills to pay, which is difficult when the new pay structure and the time spent waiting for food to be prepared means you're making as little as £6 or £7 an hour before expenses.

"There will be further strikes and protests if Deliveroo doesn't listen to what we're saying."

Mr Niyazi added that many restaurant staff and customers in the city were sympathetic to the cause.

Deliveroo claims the recent changes to its pay structure mean more than 70 per cent of orders across the UK now offer a higher fee than before, with riders in Sheffield earning over £11 an hour.

A spokeswoman for the firm said: "Rider feedback is hugely important to us, and we will continue to engage with riders across Sheffield to improve rider experience. We regularly work with local councils to improve how riders work and park in local areas."

Deliveroo drivers are also campaigning for a change in the city's parking regime, which they say has seen many couriers unfairly hit with fines while observing the rules on loading and unloading.

Mr Niyazi said couriers are due to meet parking chiefs at the council soon to voice their concerns.