The IWW Courier Network has called for a UK-wide strike of food delivery couriers on October 4th. Cities confirmed to be taking part so far include London, Glasgow, Cardiff, Bristol, Newcastle and Plymouth. Couriers in other cities are currently in discussion about joining the action.
There are a lot of questions to be answered about the gig economy. Employment rights, job security, transparency. But for now, we’re focused on what matters most to the workers on the ground: Pay and safety.
As it stands, cyclists, drivers, and scooter riders across the UK are delivering food with no guarantee of hitting at least national minimum wage. We can earn as low as £2.80 per delivery, with no guarantee of making enough deliveries in an hour to earn a decent living. And even national minimum wage, for a self-employed courier, wouldn’t pay enough to cover holidays, sickness, or vehicle maintenance.
The gig economy companies hide behind our self-employed status. They can say it’s our choice to work, that we have control of when to log on, and that they have no obligation to pay us minimum wage. They can also hide behind averages, pointing to occasions when riders in any given city have averaged £9-10 per hour, ignoring the unsociable times we’ve had to work, or how many hours we’ve been logged on to achieve that average. In order to earn enough to pay our basic bills, we are encouraged to work faster than is safe, and often in extreme weather conditions, and on very busy roads. We do this without sick pay, without injury pay, and without insurance policies that are fit for purpose. When we attempt to meet with companies like UberEats, we are often told they won’t speak to groups of more than three, which breaks up our ability to speak with a unified voice.
What are we asking for?
Our requests are simple. A courier that is paid fairly is a courier who is safe, who can pay the bills, and who doesn’t need to take dangerous risks on the road. We ask for a guarantee of £5 per delivery, and a further £1 per mile per delivery. We go through a lot to get food to customers, and we think it’s reasonable to ask for £5 each time we do so. That would give us the opportunity to earn £10-15 pounds an hour, to pay our bills, to be safe on the road, and to put something aside for the days we need to rest or recover.
Why strike on the 4th?
We chose this date to show solidarity to workers at McDonalds, Wetherspoons, and TGI’s, who are also striking over pay conditions. Naturally, each group has slightly different demands, driven by the nature of our differing roles. But we stand together with the request that we all deserve to earn enough to live.
What do we need from the public?
Support. Solidarity. We recognize this strike will cause some inconvenience. But we ask that you join us in sending a message, and don’t place any orders on the 4th of October and share your show of solidarity via social media with the hashtag #FFS410
You can also come down to the following actions taking place on the day to stand in solidarity with couriers taking action and workers in McDonalds, TGI’s and Wetherspoons.
Where are we taking action?
The IWW Couriers Network is organising strike action in the following cities:
- Bristol – https://www.facebook.com/BristolIWW/photos/a.1506915972685148/1949066205136787/?type=3&theater
- Cardiff – https://www.facebook.com/events/240140393344604/
- Glasgow – https://www.facebook.com/couriersScot/photos/a.2205797472793621/2494986763874689/?type=3&theater
- London – https://www.facebook.com/events/323316511549665/
- Newcastle – tbc
- Plymouth – tbc
- Southampton – tbc
- Brighton – tbc
There will also be Solidarity Actions held by IWW Branches in the following towns / cities:
- Bradford – tbc
- Birmingham – 5pm, McDonalds, 4 Cherry Street Birmingham B2 5AL
- Manchester – 5pm, McDonalds, Piccadilly Gardens
- Sheffield – tbc
- Swansea – tbc
- Aberystwyth – tbc
- Wrexham – 2pm, McDonalds, Regent Street
Press / Media Enquiries
For all media requests – including requests to interview couriers – please contact:
- Chris Fear (Lead Couriers Campaign Organiser) – couriers.network [at] iww [dot] org [dot] uk
- James Camps (IWW Communications Officer) – communications [at] iww [dot] org [dot] uk
IWW Couriers Network: “without our brain and muscle not a single wheel will turn”