Deliveroo rider Subway

The group of Brazilian food delivery riders who organised a major strike last week are planning further action on Valentine’s evening.

Hundreds of delivery riders for DeliverooJust EatUber Eats and Stuart went on strike on the evening of Friday 2 February, in protest against “appalling working conditions” and low wages. The strike between 5pm and 10pm saw several dark kitchens halt operations completely, and many restaurants stop accepting orders via the aggregator apps.

Via its Instagram account @deliveryjobuk, the group has posted details of another strike, to take place for five hours on 14 February.

“The sweeping strike laid bare the stark disconnect between corporate assertions and the riders’ lived experiences,” it posted. “We are counting on you to be there…Together we are stronger.”

In a communication to riders, seen by The Grocer, Deliveroo is offering a £10 bonus to any courier delivering five or more orders during the time of the planned strike.

A bulletin, which has been distributed to couriers in London this week by socialist publication Notes From Below, calls for further, and longer, strikes.

“If we can grow the strikes, it will cost the apps even more money and it will scare them more,” it states. “The bigger the strike, the shorter the amount of time we will need to continue striking before we win.” 

The strike earlier this month – word of which had spread on rider WhatsApp groups and social media without the involvement of any unions – saw riders across London, as well as in Brighton, Liverpool, Bath and Glasgow, log on to the delivery apps but not accept orders. Many joined cavalcades on their scooters and bikes.

As a result, many reported being offered inflated sums to make deliveries. In a series of app screenshots tweeted by London rider and IWGB union member Shaf Hussain, Uber Eats was offering “astronomical amounts I’ve never seen” such as £71.01 for two deliveries over 5.9 miles. As Hussain put it: “enticing riders to make their entire day’s pay in one hour”.

Deliveroo was forced to alert restaurant partners to the disruption, saying they “have discretion to stop accepting orders” and could switch the tablets used to receive orders “to offline to avoid customers placing orders that cannot be fulfilled”.

The amounts on offer to riders provided “the most indisputable evidence of the strike’s power” said gig economy worker advocate Ben Wray, co-ordinator of the Gig Economy Project.