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Deliveroo cedes ground in Brighton dispute
Andy Barber, Brighton Socialist Party
Deliveroo has ceded ground to its workers in Brighton by imposing a recruitment freeze so that existing cyclists and scooter riders don't see their hours diminish further. This is in the face of pressure exerted by the strike of 14 February and a petition signed by over 20,000 people.
A public meeting on 28 February, organised by Brighton Trade Union Council and the riders' union Independent Workers of Great Britain (IWGB), discussed developing a strategy to escalate the campaign. Their demands include ending victimisation, increasing the rate of pay per 'drop' from £4 to £5, and achieving the £8.45 Living Wage plus costs.
The need was identified to increase public awareness of the riders' fight by leafleting and holding campaign stalls alongside a high-profile 'critical mass' cycle ride planned for 14 March at 3pm.
The rise of casualisation of the workforce is clearly illustrated by the fact that Deliveroo uses between 500 and 600 riders in Brighton and Hove with work averaging 15 hours a fortnight. It can be as infrequent as one to four times a month, with pay effectively falling to as little as £1 an hour considering time spent waiting at the 'zone centre'.
Precedents stemming from recent and ongoing legal cases surrounding the status of individuals are important. For example, exclusively contracting for a particular company over an extended period has been construed as affording 'worker' status. Such rights as the national minimum wage, sick pay, holiday pay and the right to bring action over discrimination accrue from this.
However, the worthiness of a clear strategy embracing industrial action is apparent as evidenced by the Deliveroo dispute.
Brighton Socialist Party fully supports the struggle of the Deliveroo riders.
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