A trade union yesterday called for Deliveroo’s UK riders to strike when the meal delivery service floats on the stock market next month, saying the action would highlight dissatisfaction with the company’s business model and approach to workers’ rights.
Deliveroo, whose turquoise-uniformed couriers delivering chicken kormas and hot pizzas are a common sight in many British suburbs, is set for Britain’s biggest stock market debut in nearly a decade, after setting a share price range that values it at up to US$12 billion.
Some investment firms have said they will not participate in the initial public offering (IPO).
Insurer Aviva PLC for instance highlighted a lack of rights for riders as an investment risk as the company might be forced to change its business model.
Investor demand had continued to build since its road show began on Monday last week, Deliveroo said, adding that the views of the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB), which called for the strike, did not represent the majority of riders.
The union previously lost a legal challenge to Deliveroo in 2018. The case sought to secure rights such as the UK minimum wage for riders, but the court ruled that riders were self-employed.
“Investing in Deliveroo means associating yourself with the exploitative and unstable business model,” IWGB president Alex Marshall said in a statement, adding that the strike was planned for Wednesday next week, to coincide with the IPO.
The rights of people who work in the so-called “gig economy” have been an increasing focus in Britain. Ride-hailing app Uber gave its workers more entitlements earlier this month after losing a UK Supreme Court case.
Job satisfaction levels among its 50,000 self-employed riders in Britain was at an all-time high, and that the flexibility they had was a big attraction, Deliveroo said.
“Thousands apply to work with us every week, reflecting the strong demand for our on-demand model,” a company spokeswoman said.
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