COURIERS for trendy takeaway service Deliveroo picketed a food depot yesterday in their bid to force the firm to slam the breaks on exploitative practices.
Rider and Independent Workers of Great Britain (IWGB) union rep Ben told the Star: “Deliveroo is repackaging old-style exploitation as a new idea called the gig economy.
“But it’s as old an idea as capitalism itself and we’re organising to resist it.”
The picket targeted one of Deliveroo’s “RooBox kitchens” in Battersea, south London.
The kitchens are a recent initiative where restaurants outsource their takeaway services to a generic depot where they send a chef to cook according to their own menus. This means restaurants can expand their delivery services to areas they had not previously covered.
“Riders” organised by the IWGB teamed up with the a south London trades council as part of the TUC’s #heartunions week.
The week of events, which culminates on Valentine’s Day next Wednesday, was set up last year to promote the benefits of union membership to workforces across Britain.
Deliveroo workers went on strike last summer after bosses attempted to introduce a damaging new pay structure.
After seven days of stoppages, the firm agreed not to force workers into its per-delivery pay model.
The firm has been at the heart of debates over the so-called gig economy, with unions saying its designation of workers as self-employed is a ruse for exploitation.
Battersea and Wandsworth Trades Council secretary Spencer Barnshaw said: “It is essential these young workers have a better understanding of trade unions and are able to participate in them.
“This means that we need to get better at responding to their needs and organising in ways that benefit them. This will mean organising in different ways, using digital tools and listening to young workers’ values and aspirations. If we are unable to involve young workers, we won’t have a trade union movement in the future.”
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady staged a “big workplace meeting” yesterday via video link, discussing the benefits of union membership with London “night tsar” Amy Lame.
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