Deliveroo has now sent a correction to their earlier statement. Contrary to what road.cc was told, riders aren't guaranteed off-peak rates and nor are they guaranteed three deliveries for all peak hours. A new statement on Friday 19 August said:
“Riders who choose to take part in our trial payment system will receive £3.75 fee for each delivery. There will also be a minimum 2 deliveries (£7.50) per hour guarantee for peak lunch hours, 2.5 deliveries (£9.37) per hour for peak weekday dinner times, and 3 deliveries (£11.25) per hour guarantee at peak weekend dinner times for riders who take part.”
Deliveroo says it won’t force a new contract on its drivers, following a seven day strike over pay and conditions, but road.cc has been told drivers who have opted in to the new scheme are already losing money.
The food delivery company appears to have backed down on its attempted blanket trial in parts of North London, which was set to replace the £7 per hour + £1 drop fee with a £3.75 drop fee only, leaving drivers (a term which includes cyclists) in fear of receiving less than the National Living Wage under the new terms.
After hundreds of workers held strikes outside its offices, Deliveroo agreed to guarantee a minimum rate at peak times, which drivers accepted following last minute negotiations on Tuesday. Although the company told road.cc drivers are now guaranteed £7.50 per hour in off-peak hours, and £11.25 in peak hours, the Independent Workers’ Union (IWGB) believes off-peak pay has not been guaranteed, and that drivers are now having to cover a wider delivery area.
In an email to road.cc a spokesperson for Deliveroo said: “Our London riders currently receive fees of £7 per hour + £1 per delivery. On average, this works out at about £9.30 per hour + petrol expenses + tips.
“Riders who choose to take part in our trial payment system will receive £3.75 fee for each delivery. There will also be a minimum 2 deliveries (£7.50) per hour guarantee for off-peak hours and 3 deliveries (£11.25) per hour guarantee at peak for riders who take part. Riders will still also receive petrol expenses and 100% of tips."
However, Chair of the IWGB’s Couriers and Logistics branch, Mags Dewhurst, told road.cc: “That’s not our understanding.
“Drivers are working in their existing zones and already finding they’re losing money. Even though there’s a guarantee in peak hours in London, in the down time they are losing money, and part of the deal is that they will work on neighbouring zones, so they have to travel further for £3.75.”
An email seen by road.cc, which was sent to a Deliveroo driver just before 10pm on Tuesday, following negotiations, says: "You’re probably already aware since we have spoken to most of you on the phone, there is a choice to stay on the existing payment model, or trial the new system with guarantees.
"Signing the new pay-per-delivery service agreement will not be compulsory during the trial. If riders want to continue working in their zone under the pay-per-delivery trial to see how it works for them, they can do so."
The email does not mention any guaranteed rates, on or off-peak, neither does a blog by the company’s Co-founder, Will Shu, which refers to an earlier, peak hours only offer. Road.cc has asked Deliveroo to clarify the terms.
Dewhurst said: “A lot of drivers have opted to trial the scheme on the basis that they can go back to £7+1 in a month’s time.”
She called the earlier contract a “bluff”.
“Trying to force people to sign up to a new contract wholesale, but under threat of losing their jobs…is a routine process in the courier industry,” she said. “Deliveroo have shot themselves in the foot: if they sacked 280 people on the basis that they hadn’t signed, they wouldn’t have had people to do the job.”
The company and its drivers will return to the negotiation table after 14 September, when the trial ends. Dewhurst say some are already talking about striking again “if necessary”. Ultimately, she says, they will push for more than the £7+£1 rate.
The company reiterated to road.cc drivers are freelance contractors and said 85 per cent of its drivers work for the company to supplement other incomes or study.
When asked by road.cc for details of the survey from which that figure was taken, Deliveroo declined, citing a data protection agreement with its drivers.
The company also added claims of drivers being sacked for striking are false, and says it has no plans to roll the trial out across London.
A crowdfund campaign for striking workers has now reached almost £13,000.