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From The Socialist newspaper, 14 April 2021

Deliveroo workers strike and protest for better pay and conditons

York

Iain Dalton speaking at the York rally

Iain Dalton speaking at the York rally   (Click to enlarge)

Bernard Davies, York Socialist Party

On 7 April, Socialist Party and Young Socialist members showed solidarity with striking Deliveroo riders.

The Independent Workers of Great Britain (IWGB) union called for a day of action in their struggle for a guaranteed minimum wage, safety protections and workers' rights, including access to holiday and sick pay, and an end to unpaid waiting times. The union also wants Deliveroo to allow riders to bargain collectively on pay and working conditions.

The industrial action comes after research by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism found riders earned as little as 2 an hour. Deliveroo maintains that riders like the flexibility of working as contractors and that they earn well above the minimum wage.

The call for strike action involved some 400 riders from York, Sheffield, Reading, Wolverhampton, and London turning off their app (which outlets use to call for the services of an available rider), and well organised, socially distanced protests and rallies.

Riders and supporters in York also marched to protest outside a selection of retail outlets throughout the city, to raise awareness, not just with the retailers but with the public, as to the unfair pay and working conditions they are fighting to overturn.

This is not the first time that the Socialist Party has shown solidarity with members of the IWGB in York.

In 2020, we supported the Deliveroo riders in their boycott of the Five Guys burger chain outlets in the city. This action was targeted specifically at the unpaid waiting times when picking up orders from these outlets. This can be anything from 15 to 30 minutes. This means that riders are not only not being paid for that time, but the number of jobs they can complete during a shift is also affected.

In York, several speakers showed their support for the strikers' action, including Iain Dalton, a member of the Socialist Party and retail union Usdaw.

Iain and our Young Socialist members received the appreciation of the York IWGB Secretary, Cristian Lee Santabarbara: "A brilliant presence and immense solidarity from the York Socialist Party at the demo. Thank you to inspirational speaker Iain Dalton. Solidarity with York Socialist Party."

Wolverhampton

Nick Hart, Black Country Socialist Party

Deliveroo and Uber Eats workers in Wolverhampton took part in the national strike organised by the IWGB union on 7 April.

One courier who had been with Deliveroo for three years reported how his per-delivery rate had gone down by almost half in that time, the 2 fee taking no account of time spent waiting at restaurants or difficulties reaching the customer at the other end. Another talked about regularly working 80-hour weeks with less than minimum wage to show for it after vehicle costs.

It wasn't lost on them that the shareholders making a tidy sum from Deliveroo being listed on the stock market wouldn't have too much experience of making deliveries at all hours of the day and in all kinds of weather!

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Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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In The Socialist 14 April 2021:


Covid-19

'Covid passports' discriminatory and questionable - fight for workplace safety

Covid inquiry? Workers must decide


News

Tensions escalate in Northern Ireland

How to deal with the tax-dodging mega-rich? Nationalise!

NHS pay: reject Tories' miserly 1% 'offer' - Fight for full 15% rise

Amazon - union vote lost

Tory hypocrisy over housing benefit cut

US cops shoot dead another black man


Elections

Every voter in Wales has the opportunity to vote for TUSC

TUSC: Launching a working-class electoral alternative in London

London housing crisis: vote TUSC to fight back


Workplace news

PCS elections: Support the Broad Left Network for a democratic, fighting union leadership

St Mungo's maintenance workers on indefinite strike

Thousands of London bus workers strike across multiple companies

Rally for sacked RMT rep Declan

East London cleaners fight outsourcing and redundancies

Bristol Water workers walk out

SPS Technologies workers end strike after management backs down

Thurrock Council workers strike against pay cuts

Deliveroo workers strike and protest


Lessons from history

1920s-30s Britain: A working-class movement fighting unemployment and capitalism


Campaigns news

Youth under attack

Students in action: Protest on 21 April

Why you should join the Socialist Party

Cardiff: Hundreds protest to free Siyanda

Worcester: Kill the Bill

Fighting fund target smashed. Can we do it again?


Readers' opinion

The Socialist Inbox


 

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