Sydney Deliveroo riders angry over poverty pay and lack of rights will join international protests and strike action today ahead of the company’s float on the London stock exchange valued at approximately AU$16bn (£9bn).
Deliveroo, the most protested platform company in the world, has already been knocked back by two leading UK investment firms, Aviva and Aberdeen Standard, who have already refused to take part in the IPO citing Deliveroo’s mistreatment of workers.
Two Deliveroo riders in Australia supported by the TWU are awaiting the decisions of separate legal challenges: Jeremy Rhind’s wage theft case in the Federal Court and Diego Franco’s unfair dismissal case in the Fair Work Commission.
Deliveroo’s own IPO prospectus lists 24 pages of risks including legal battles brought by workers and unions in nearly every country the company operates.
“A business model built on exploitation, refusal of rights and wage theft to the tune of millions is not worthy of investment. Deliveroo should take heed of riders’ complaints and court challenges around the world, and the strong signal sent by major investment firms’ refusal to fund its fleecing of workers,” said TWU Assistant National Secretary Nick McIntosh.
Eligible Deliveroo riders have now been informed of a small payment they may receive as part of Deliveroo’s public offering which intends to make the company more appealing to investors.
“Food delivery riders protesting in Sydney today are mourning the loss of five riders killed last year. They’re fighting poverty pay, unfair sackings and pressure to work quickly and dangerously without protective gear. Deliveroo’s PR stunt to pay back a pittance of years’ long wage theft in a bogus ‘thank you’ scheme does nothing to address the deep-rooted concerns of riders,” said TWU Assistant National Secretary Nick McIntosh.
Deliveroo rider Marcelo Batista is one of many riders disappointed in Deliveroo’s blatant intention to get public approval rather than genuinely paying riders what they are owed. He said: “I’ve worked for Deliveroo for 4 years and in that time my pay has been slashed over and over without any ability for me to challenge the cuts. Deliveroo told me I’d delivered more orders than 90% of riders but I will receive the second lowest amount in the IPO payments. At best, that’s around 10 cents per delivery.”
The TWU is calling for an independent tribunal to set minimum standards and protections for all workers in evolving work arrangements. The ALP platform has committed to extend the powers of the Fair Work Commission to award rights to employee-like relationships.
Deliveroo has suffered multiple blows in international courts recently, with a Dutch ruling that Deliveroo riders are employees with rights to minimum pay and Spain’s government reaching a deal that will recognise Deliveroo riders as employees. This is in addition to the UK Supreme Court ruling that found Uber drivers are workers and have rights which has major implications for Australia.
In December Uber rushed to settle a case involving the sacking of an Adelaide delivery driver who was 10 minutes late with an order. The Federal Court appeared to be poised to rule against the company as it savaged its business model and attempts to deny any relationship to its workers.
Last month Hungry Panda riders achieved a ground-breaking win for gig economy workers in Australia securing pay increases, insurance and the reinstatement of two unfairly sacked workers.
A TWU survey of over 100 Deliveroo riders showed:
- 93% said their pay had decreased
- 89% said they struggle to pay bills and buy groceries
- 46% have been injured at work
- 75% of those injured received no support from the company
- 78% said they worry about being seriously hurt or killed at work
Quotes from Deliveroo riders:
“No job in the world is paying you less the longer you work in the industry, but food delivery does.”
“There is a lot of working time that we don’t get paid for. We have to work long days to make enough money.”
“We hardly make $10 per hour. Please help us.”