Deliveroo drivers staged protest outside the company’s annual general meeting in London, over what they allege as ‘soul-destroying’ working conditions.

 The protest, reported by The Standard, saw members from the Brazilian, Bengali, Romanian, and British rider communities demonstrate outside the offices of White & Case law firm as the AGM took place on 23 May.

The demonstrators allege that Deliveroo has not adequately addressed issues regarding poor pay and job security, despite riders facing increasing financial challenges. Deliveroo, however, maintains that the ‘overwhelming majority of riders’ are content with their work arrangements.

Riders for food delivery platforms are typically categorised as self-employed contractors, which exempts companies from paying the statutory National Living Wage. Nevertheless, delivery platforms claim that their riders’ earnings consistently meet or exceed this threshold.

Following a union recognition agreement with GMB in 2022, Deliveroo recently pledged to raise the guaranteed minimum pay for drivers on an order to £12 an hour, in addition to vehicle costs. This rate is above the £11.44 hourly National Living Wage requirement.

Despite this, Matthew Toun, a Deliveroo driver for over five years, expressed to The Standard that actual earnings can fall below £12 an hour. He cited delays such as extended waiting times at restaurants and traffic conditions as factors that prolong delivery times beyond the company’s estimates.

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During the AGM, Deliveroo CEO Will Shu and the board faced questions from driver representatives, supported by ShareAction, a responsible investment charity, and the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB). Union representatives later criticised their responses as ‘bog-standard’.

This protest comes after a host of protests by drivers from Deliveroo, Just Eat, and Uber Eats earlier this year over pay disputes.

In response to the latest protest, a Deliveroo spokesperson was quoted by the publication as saying: “We value dialogue with riders and were grateful to the riders who attended and shared their experiences and questions with the Board today, as well as those who stayed after the meeting to share their feedback with our team.

“Deliveroo offers the flexible work riders tell us they want alongside attractive earning opportunities and protections, including free insurance, sickness cover, financial support when riders become new parents and a range of training opportunities.

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

Last month, the European Parliament has passed legislation aimed at protecting workers employed by digital platforms, including food delivery providers, drivers, and couriers.

This new EU platform workers legislation ensures the correct classification of employment status and addresses bogus self-employment.