Deliveroo, Uber Eats and Just Eat delivery drivers to strike on Valentine's Day - 'it's about the dignity of every worker'

Delivery drivers for food-ordering platforms including Deliveroo, Uber Eats and Just Eat are striking on Valentine's Day to call for better pay and conditions.

Wednesday's five-hour walkout is being organised by Delivery Job UK, an umbrella organisation, many of whose members are Brazilian and which claims to have more than 3,000 supporters in London and several other UK cities, according to The Guardian.

The group said on X on Sunday that the industrial action "highlights the growing tensions between gig economy workers and the platforms they work for. As consumers, it's crucial to consider the conditions under which our conveniences are delivered".

"Let's stand in solidarity with those fighting for fair wages and better working conditions," it said. "It's more than just a meal at stake - it's about the dignity and rights of every worker."

The strike, which will last between 5pm and 10pm, will likely affect thousands of deliveries, as couriers, who normally compete across multiple apps for delivery, refuse to take orders.

In November, the Supreme Court ruled that Deliveroo riders were not "workers", and could not form a union, following a long-running battle by the Independent Workers' Union of Great Britain for the right to unionise and bargain on their behalf.

As freelancers, delivery drivers have previously protested over not being entitled to the benefits enjoyed by full-time employees.

The organisation said it wanted a £5 minimum. Other companies use different pricing structures.

A spokesman told the BBC: "They [Deliveroo] have lowered their fees. There's no incentive anymore. On a Friday night you could make £100 over 4-5 hours, now that's gone".

Couriers, he said, were also exposed to "a lot of violence on the streets", especially in the evenings.

A Deliveroo spokesperson told Sky News: "Deliveroo aims to provide riders with the flexible work riders tell us they value, attractive earning opportunities and protections.

"Rider retention rates are high and the overwhelming majority of riders tell us that they are satisfied working with us.

"We value dialogue with riders, which is why we have a voluntary partnership agreement with a trade union, which includes annual discussions on pay.

"We are pleased to also be able to offer riders free insurance, sickness cover, financial support when riders become new parents and a range of training opportunities."

An Uber Eats spokesperson said: "We offer a flexible way for couriers to earn by using the app when and where they choose.

"We know that the vast majority of couriers are satisfied with their experience on the app, and we regularly engage with couriers to look at how we can improve their experience."

A Just Eat spokesperson said: "We take the concerns of all couriers on the Just Eat network extremely seriously. Their welfare is important to us, and we welcome their feedback.

"Our data shows that couriers delivering for Just Eat earn, on average, significantly over both the London and national living wage for the time they are on an order.

"We provide a highly competitive base rate to self-employed couriers and have a good relationship with the vast majority of couriers across our network. In addition, we offer regular incentives to help them maximise their earnings and continue to review our pay structure regularly."

Read more:
Can't find Valentine's roses? It may be down to Brexit
All you need to know about the 'Welsh Valentine's Day'
Delivery drivers 'are not employees' - Supreme Court

In the US, delivery drivers are planning strike action for two hours in major cities including Chicago, Miami and Philadelphia because they are "TIRED of being mistreated by the app companies", according to a post by Justice for App Workers, which says it represents more than 130,000 app drivers.

In a statement on the group's website, it said members are "sick of working 80 hours/week just to make ends meet, being constantly scared for our safety, and worrying about being deactivated with the click of a button".

It added: "We're going on strike and telling the app companies that WE WON'T TAKE IT ANYMORE!"