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Most food delivery couriers in Scotland feel ‘unsafe’ at work, study finds

EIGHT out of 10 food delivery couriers in Scotland feel unsafe at work but carry on out of financial necessity, researchers have found.

The study, led by Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, surveyed 207 food delivery couriers working in Scottish cities.

More than 60 per cent reported experiencing racial or ethnic abuse and 55 per cent had suffered physical abuse, largely as a result of incidents while on the road.

The two-year study also found that every single one of the 33 women surveyed said they had suffered sexual harassment or abuse while at work.

Dr Pedro Mendonca, who led the study, said: “Our findings shed light on the reality food delivery couriers have to confront on a daily basis.

“A significant number of the workforce are migrants who face multiple barriers as well as daily abuse and a lack of opportunities to find alternative employment in safer environments.

“It’s imperative to understand the nuanced reality in this sector so that we can address challenges and ensure equal protection for all workers.”

STUC general secretary Roz Foyer called for more protection for delivery couriers.

“This report shines a light on the galling abuse suffered by food delivery couriers, which cannot be allowed to go unchecked,” she said.

“To read that all women surveyed had experienced sexual harassment or abuse, with 81 per cent of couriers overall feeling fundamentally unsafe in their work, is inexcusable and requires urgent action from government.

“These workers need protection. If we are to become a fair work nation by 2025, the exploitative, abusive practices this vital research from Dr Mendonca highlights must be purged.”

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