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15 August 2016
Angry Deliveroo drivers' strike against zero-hour contracts and low pay
Hundreds of drivers working for takeaway food courier company Deliveroo protested outside their head office on 15 August, the beginning of a strike over changes to their pay. At the moment drivers get £7 an hour plus £1 extra for each delivery, Deliveroo wants to cut the hourly rate and move to a zero-hour contract which would mean drivers earning only £3.75 for each delivery.
Deliveroo boss William Shu came out to talk to workers but tried to pull the wool over their eyes and request 'one-on-one' discussions which was met with boos.
The drivers, organised in the independent IWGB union, already face little job security with no sick pay, no paid holidays and no guaranteed hours. The new terms are even worse. The drivers are demanding the London Living Wage of £9.40 an hour plus the £1 for each delivery.
One driver said: "If a driver falls off their bike, they get no sick pay, no holiday pay, they're completely on their own but on the other hand if Deliveroo catch you not wearing your uniform, you'll be penalised. So the whole concept of being independent contractors is for their benefit and not for anyone else's."
The government has intervened to say that workers will have to be paid the National Living Wage unless a court rules that the drivers are self-employed, leading to Shu being forced to apologise. But we can't rely on a Tory government that has seen zero-hour contracts rise to almost a million. The dispute is attracting solidarity and support across the union movement. Over £8,000 has already been raised via: www.crowdpac.co.uk/campaigns/47/the-deliveroostrike
This dispute has exposed the Victorian conditions that more and more workers are facing but the militant action, coming soon after the successful 58-day strike at 100 Wood Street by cleaners organised in United Voices of the World, shows that even workers on precarious contracts are prepared to organise and fight.
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