Deliverru has been accused of “seeking approval for exploitative practices” after signing an agreement with the GMB union that does not guarantee that its couriers will be paid the legal minimum wage for their entire working day.
The Takeway Group has promised to pay a minimum wage to its 90,000 riders after spending, but only when placing an order, under a contract that recognizes them as “self-employed”.
However, they are not paid while checking in to the app and waiting for the order, which means that their overall earnings per hour for the time allotted for the work may fall below the legal minimum level.
Alex Marshall, head of the IWGB union which is fighting for better rights for couriers, said the new agreement did not change the current practice of delivery. Classifying riders as self-employed independent contractors means they are not legally entitled to sick pay, vacation pay or minimum wage.
The union, which seeks to go to the Supreme Court to challenge a self-appointed ruling by Deliveru’s riders, described the deal with GMB as a “hollow and cruel PR move”.
Marshall said that at the time of the deal, before the May 20 annual shareholder meeting of Deliver, there was a desperate attempt to go to the meeting and say, ‘Look how great we are doing’ when the company is still rotting.
The GMB union said the agreement gives the courier the right to bargain on the benefits of pay and consultation on benefits and other benefits, including the health and safety of the delivery couriers.
The union will be able to represent individual riders who are members of the GMB in dispute, which it says will give them a “strong voice”.
GMB national official Mick Rex said the agreement was “a blueprint for those working in the platform self-employed sector”, adding: “Tens of thousands of riders will now be covered for one of the world’s largest online catering services. Which gives them a voice – including pay negotiations, guaranteed earnings and representation in times of difficulty. “
Will Shu, founder and CEO of Deliver, said the agreement provides couriers with “flexibility, guaranteed earnings, representation and convenience”.
He added: “Deliveru has long called for both flexibility and safety for riders, and this innovative deal is exactly the kind of partnership that should be based on an on-demand economy.”
He said the company offers free insurance to first riders in the gig economy, which covers periods of illness and support for new parents.