IWGB

Support striking couriers in Brazil!

Brazilian delivery riders in São Paulo state have been on strike demanding better pay and conditions from the apps they work for. They have made links with couriers’ union IWGB here. Watch their message of solidarity ("Good morning, English!") As the IWGB says: “The striking riders suffer from the same problems that we do in the UK, from unfair account terminations to low delivery fees and unpaid waiting times… Our unity must be as international as the apps and their investors.” The IWGB is collecting funds to support the Brazilian comrades here. A small donation of pounds goes a long way.

PCS and UVW: a model for union joint working (John Moloney's column)

In Royal Parks, outsourced cleaners and attendants demonstrated on 30 August, part of a two-week strike against job cuts and for improved conditions [workers at the rally above]. The contractor, Just Ask, has already back off from its original plan to cut 33% of all jobs. On 9 September, they’re due to write to us with a new proposal. Some of our next steps will depend on that. There’s also a positive aspect to the dispute, including the demand for full sick pay. Royal Parks has admitted that the previous contractor had agreed to implement 18 weeks’ full sick pay entitlement to all staff...

Legal setback for Deliveroo workers

Deliveroo couriers in the Independent Workers’ union of Great Britain (IWGB) have been knocked back for the fourth time in their legal challenge aimed at forcing Deliveroo to recognise couriers as “Limb B workers” — a legal category distinct from both salaried workers (“employees”) and self-employed contractors, which Deliveroo insists its couriers are. Limb B workers are self-employed and work flexibly, but do not set their own rates of pay in the way a self-employed tradesperson might. Had the IWGB’s case been successful, Deliveroo would have been forced to increase courier wages and...

Uber signs union agreement

Ride sharing and food courier app Uber has signed an agreement with the GMB union. The agreement covers Uber drivers, but excludes Uber Eats couriers. According to the GMB, the agreement allows them to discuss issues including “national earnings principles”, pensions, and discretionary benefits. The agreement does not, however, enable the GMB to collectively bargain in a formal sense, and submit claims on pay and conditions on behalf of drivers. Following a legal challenge initiated by Uber drivers, who were then members of the GMB, Uber has been forced to recognise drivers as employees...

"We need to develop workers' capacities"

Henry Chango Lopez (pictured above, centre, before the pandemic) is the new General Secretary of the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB). He spoke to Sacha Ismail. In recent years the IWGB has had a high profile in part because it’s grown quite a lot when trade unions in general have stagnated. Why is that? It’s really just about the situation of workers at the moment, the way the economy is, outsourcing, precarious employment – these are problems that many unions have not tackled. Unions do not effectively organise workers in these situations. The problem is so wide...

Private hire workers strike for safety

Private hire drivers working for multiple apps, including Bolt and Uber, struck on 3 March to demand improved safety provision, after Bolt driver Gabriel Bringye was stabbed to death while working on 17 February. Nader Awaad, chair of the Independent Workers' union of Great Britain (IWGB)'s United Private Hire Drivers branch, which supported the strike, said “Most of my colleagues have been assaulted at work so Gabriel’s death is not only tragic but alarming. That’s why we’re calling not only for practical health and safety measures but also culture change. “Passengers don’t expect to be held...

Couriers: push the courts, organise at work

An important legal case is in the works. A claim for holiday pay and the minimum wage for couriers working for food delivery app Stuart (the delivery arm of JustEat) is being brought to court by law firm Leigh Day. In December 2019 a judge found that a courier employed by Stuart was not an “independent” contractor, but a “dependent” contractor, also known in legal jargon as a “limb (b) worker” — the reason being that a courier working for Stuart is obliged to accept a food order if no other worker picks it up. That means that theoretically, all couriers working for Stuart have a claim on...

Couriers: half a step forward

Food delivery firm Just Eat is set to bow to pressure and start employing couriers as employees rather than as spuriously self-employed “independent contractors”. The company plans to start employing 1,000 workers “directly” via a delivery arm (Scoober) which will be operated by the recruitment agency Randstad. This means that these workers will all receive some measure of sick pay, holiday pay and other employment rights which most UK food delivery workers are currently denied. Just Eat’s move is part of a Europe-wide move by the firm towards regularising the employment of its delivery...

Shutting down all the apps

On Wednesday 25 November the majority of the takeaway food delivery workforce in Sheffield struck. The strike affected all of the big apps — Stuart, Deliveroo and UberEats — and involved over 100 drivers. It effectively shut down the delivery service across the city. On the drivers’ WhatsApp, pictures flooded in of restaurant order boards overflowing with uncollected orders. The workers were united around three key demands: living wage after expenses; a fair process around discipline, with hearings and natural justice for drivers accused of infractions; and a hiring freeze, to stop the big...

Sheffield couriers strike

On Wednesday 25 November, food couriers in Sheffield will carry out an all-day, all-out strike. Their demands, aimed at all food platforms, are for a living wage plus costs, a fair process on terminations from platforms, and a hiring freeze. In recent weeks, many couriers across Uber, Stuart and Deliveroo, have found themselves being terminated with no right of appeal. In many of these cases the reason for the termination is computer error. For example, Uber requires riders to submit selfies during a shift in order to prove that they have not rented out their account to a third party. But Uber...

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