Deliveroo drivers fighting back against exploitation

Deliveroo drivers across London have united – with the help of the Independent Workers of Great Britain (IWGB) union – to organise in the ‘unorganisable’ gig economy. The aim? To achieve union recognition for the drivers in Camden and to change employment status for Deliveroo riders nationally. Deliveroo riders are currently classified as ‘self-employed independent contractors’, meaning they are not entitled to basic workers’ rights. Deliveroo riders are seeking to change their employment status to ‘worker’ – a form of self employment which grants rights such as the national minimum wage, the right to paid holiday and the right to protection against discrimination; none of which drivers currently have.

The IWGB plans to change the employment status through applying to the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) to gain union recognition for the Deliveroo riders in the Camden zone. Only those recognised as employees and workers are entitled to union rights; therefore the CAC will need to rule on whether Deliveroo riders are workers before it grants union recognition to the IWGB. In order to apply to the CAC, the IWGB needs to show that 10% of the riders in Camden are members and that 50% of the riders are likely to support union recognition. To achieve this, Deliveroo riders, members of the union and supporters of the cause, including the RCG, held a successful, intensive recruitment drive, holding two stalls a day for a week on Jamestown Road in Camden in order to boost support and increase membership.

The Deliveroo riders fightback has had a positive reception, making national news and attracting over 60 supporters to the first public meeting which took place in November. As the first of its kind in the so called ‘gig economy’, the campaign is likely to continue to draw attention from the media and the general public. At a recent Employment Tribunal, Uber taxi drivers won their fight for worker recognition, and we are confident that the same will happen for Deliveroo riders.

You can get involved by attending an event hosted by the RCG: Building New Unions: from Detroit to Deliveroo, which will include a film screening of Finally Got the News, followed by a discussion of its relevance to the current Deliveroo Union struggle. Thursday 8 December, 7.15-9.30pm at Chadswell Healthy Living Centre, Harrison Street, London, WC1H 8JF.

Billy Rapley


Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! 254 December 2016/January 2017