Deliveroo riders took action across London, Leeds and Nottingham over the weekend of the 12th-13th July in response to punitive new policies from management that would cut hours for motorbike couriers in London and cyclists elsewhere.
In London, Deliveroo riders picketed a Deliveroo Editions kitchen for two nights in a row on July 12th and 13th. The local IWW branch explained:
“Deliveroo decided to ban motorcycles from the Editions Kitchen we picketed a few weeks ago. They claim this is because of environmental policy negotiations with the council, but we know they banned them because we were unionising the place. Meanwhile couriers elsewhere in the UK have seen themselves banned from using particular Editions kitchens for basically the same reason. Perversely the excuse of environmental friendliness didn’t stop non-motorized couriers from getting banned elsewhere. Why? Deliveroo is scared.”
The action appears to have had a serious effect on business both nights, with an IWW organiser observing that "I'm guessing... the fact that the kitchen staff are vaping in the parking area means that we have probably had a bit of an effect on orders" on the first night, and then reporting “We won! The kitchen has closed after an evening of next to no service” on the Sunday.
“Last night [Friday 12th July] Leeds Deliveroo couriers held a successful strike and picket line outside of the ‘Dark Kitchens’ in Leeds.
The strike lasted from 7pm – 9pm causing Deliveroo to close up the ‘Dark Kitchens’ with restaurants sending chefs home early. With numerous reports coming in from riders in the city that orders were backed up in the restaurants, with ‘Frank’ (the algorithm) struggling to keep up.
The strike was called in response to the recent changes to our priority booking system. These new changes, that disproportionately effect cyclists, have caused a dramatic reduction of hours for every Leeds cyclist, with only a weeks notice. The profit driven reasoning behind Deliveroo’s decision is that cyclists are less ‘efficient’ than cars and scooters. This is a complete insult to cyclists who have worked tirelessly all year round facing dangerous traffic, icy roads, vicious storms and summer heat waves to build this company up to what it has become today. It is also a complete insult to the general public who now more than ever, demand that our companies and governments clean the air of our cities and directly combat climate change. While Leeds City Council puts forward plans to pedestrianise Leeds city centre, Deliveroo attempts to choke the city with more vehicles and more greenhouse gas emissions. This is the profit-before-people logic of Deliveroo and the so called ‘gig economy’.
The Leeds Courier Network is working nationally with other courier networks and campaign groups to plan further strikes and actions. We intend to carry on and expand this campaign until our demands are met.
1 Deliveroo immediately suspends its changes to the priority booking system.
2 Deliveroo immediately amends all booking time changes that were made to individual riders.
3 Deliveroo immediately ensures that riders that would have previously received weekend peak hours are reassigned all peak shifts so as to not allow their statistics to drop in the coming weeks.
4 Deliveroo introduces a non variable distance based payment system, offer us fair pay for all jobs and we will do them!
The mood on the picket was of happiness and solidarity!”
This action followed on from at least one other strike that took place in Leeds against the new policies in early July.
In co-ordination with the strike action elsewhere, riders organised through the Nottingham Riders Network also closed down a Deliveroo Editions kitchen, reporting that “Tonight, with an outpouring of support from their workers, Deliveroo riders stood together to shut down Deliveroo editions kitchen! Scrap vehicle priority, or we’re ready to do it again.” True to their word, the Nottingham riders have already begun making plans for further action on Friday 26th July.
For further updates on this situation as it develops, readers can check the IWW Couriers Network and the IWGB Couriers and Logistics Branch, or see London IWW, the Nottingham Riders Network and the Leeds Couriers Network for more local details.