The IWW Couriers Network condemns yesterday’s attack on striking couriers who were protesting against Deliveroo’s poverty pay.
Video footage of the incident shows that a van twice rammed into two different moped couriers, damaging the vehicles they depend on to make a living. The first time, the couriers spoke with the driver, explaining that they were taking strike action. The second time that the van rammed a moped driver, the couriers responded in self-defence. When the van driver and his friend retaliated by arming themselves with hammers, the drivers in fact de-escalated the conflict and disarmed the driver without causing him further harm. One IWW member who was at the protest stated:
“While all other cars reversed to go about their business, the van driver set off the confrontation by driving his vehicle into the mopeds. When the couriers tried to explain the reason of their protests, he responded by shouting and insulting them before ramming his van into two moped riders.”
The IWW Couriers Network stands in solidarity with the couriers and their right to defend themselves against violence. The daily reality of delivery couriers involves dealing with dangerous drivers, moped thieves, immigration police and of course delivery companies that do not care for the safety of their couriers. These drivers lack access to services that can resolve these threats for them and therefore have to rely on mutual support and self-defence to maintain their security and livelihoods.
We condemn Deliveroo’s shameful statement on what happened yesterday. Rather than defending its drivers who were attacked by a van and men armed with deadly weapons, the company has placed the blame on its hardworking and underpaid couriers whilst also claiming that the unions supporting the striking drivers bear responsibility for what happened. Throughout the video of the incident, unionists in IWW Hi-Viz jackets can clearly be seen working to peacefully resolve the dispute. We also reject The Sun and Mail’s hit-pieces on the couriers which seem to completely underplay the fact that the couriers were attacked, rammed and then chased with hammers.
This was a self-organised strike by couriers who are sick of working for delivery companies that exploit them, lie about them, and pay them less and less to provide the vital service of delivering food to the UK’s workforce. These couriers are standing up for themselves and demanding decent pay, respect and safe working conditions. Their actions are inspiring a strike wave across the UK that is growing in size and intensity. The IWW Couriers Network will be with them every time and will continue this fight until Deliveroo, UberEats and the other greedy delivery apps pay the drivers the money they are owed.