Fast food couriers picket McDonald's in Sheffield in bitter dispute with paymasters Stuart Delivery

Delivery drivers are boycotting McDonald’s in Sheffield again in what is being hailed the UK’s longest gig-economy industrial action.

By David Walsh
Tuesday, 11th January 2022, 9:17 am

Members of the IWGB are refusing to pick up McDonald’s orders made on the Just Eat platform every evening this week in a bid to pile pressure on their paymasters.

The self-employed couriers work for Stuart Delivery - a sub-contractor to Just Eat - which introduced a new pay structure in December. Workers say it slashed the rate per delivery by 24 per cent.

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Members of the IWGB are refusing to pick up McDonald’s orders made on the Just Eat platform in a bid to keep their dispute in the public eye and pile pressure on their paymasters.

The firm says it rewards longer journeys and more drivers get more overall.

The IWGB – Independent Workers' Union of Great Britain - is also bringing a claim against Stuart for unlawful denial of worker status and basic rights, such as holiday pay and a guaranteed minimum wage.

A spokesman said: “Despite undertaking high-risk key work through the pandemic, Stuart couriers live on poverty pay and are still denied basic worker rights.

“Meanwhile, in 2020 Stuart’s highest earning director received a 1,000 percent pay rise over the previous year to over £2 million, as the corporation saw a £20 million increase in turnover during the height of the pandemic.”

Alex Marshall, IWGB president, said the sign of a good employer was allowing workers to organise, unionise, elect workplace reps and to engage with them to resolve workplace issues.

He added: “Stuart Delivery is doing everything it can to avoid this which speaks volumes about the company.”

Olivia Blake, MP for Sheffield Hallam, said workers’ families must not be allowed to ‘pay the price for Stuart’s corporate greed’.

She added: “On behalf of our city I call on them to do the right thing: reverse the pay cut and sit down to talk with the IWGB.”

A Stuart Delivery spokeswoman said: “This action, by a small group of individuals, is unnecessary. Stuart’s management has met with couriers in Sheffield and Blackpool to listen to all their concerns, including pay. Stuart is committed to ensuring it is the most courier-centric platform that guarantees pay per hour that is among the highest in the sector.”

A Just Eat spokeswoman said: “We take seriously the concerns of all couriers on the Just Eat network and we are having ongoing discussions with Stuart on this matter."

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