Takeaway delivery company Deliveroo has introduced vehicles priority to its booking system to prioritise car drivers and motorbike riders over bicycle delivery in a bid to improve business efficiencies.
It said that cyclists aren’t keen on accepting longer distance orders in certain parts of the UK and therefore the introduction of more vehicles to the fleet is requires to do those longer distances. “Deliveroo is on a mission to ensure that everyone has access to amazing meals, delivered. To achieve this in certain areas we need to ensure we have the right fleet mix to match the growth in customer demand,” said Deliveroo.
“We have made a small change to our online booking portal which will mean that as we create more work across the UK, we will have enough vehicles capable of making longer distance orders that customers want. Deliveroo isn’t saying goodbye to pedal power, quite the opposite in fact and will also continue to roll our measure such subsidised e-bike schemes.”
The move has been opposed by the IWGB (Independent Workers of Great Britain) Couriers & Logistics Branch which argued that this is showing a disregard for broader environmental concerns such as poor air quality in congested cities.
It said that sustainable logistics must be priority and criticised Deliveroo for “choosing short-term profits to satisfy shareholders like Amazon over a greener and healthier society.”
It also argued that this shows disregard for workers who have had their hours significantly reduced, all with only two working days’ notice regarding the system changes. Workers using a bicycle are said to be shunted to 3pm when it comes to picking up shifts leaving barely any hours available. “If demand is low, I can be waiting for work while car drivers receive double orders,” said one Deliveroo cyclist.
The IWGB Nottingham Riders Network and the Leeds Couriers Network [unaffiliated] organised strikes on the 12th July to which resulted in the shutdown of the Deliveroo Editions (dark-kitchens) in the respective cities during peak hours.
Riders are demanding the scrapping of ‘vehicle priority’ and for Will Shu, founder of Deliveroo, to apologise. More strikes are planned.
The IWGB was set up in 2012 to represent workers in the gig economy, who have traditionally been non-unionised.