Move to rolling strikes

Submitted by AWL on 3 April, 2019 - 9:05 Author: Zack, IWGB National Deliveroo Committee chair
deliveroo strike

Organising to take on Deliveroo, nationally, has taken big steps forward this week. The IWGB National Deliveroo Committee, meeting again, is systematically collating and redistributing information from places we have members. We have launched a national bilingual bulletin, Puncture, to be printed, posted and distributed in various locations, as well as IWGB Deliveroo campaign “visiting cards”.

We’ve also launched public announcement lists for couriers, through WhatsApp and email. Our programme of rolling strikes is being unleashed and developed, in particular in Nottingham, Horsham and York. I will report on the details in future articles.

By consciously striking on different dates, we can more easily offer solidarity to each other on the days they are striking, while ensuring that Deliveroo is constantly being hit somewhere. Where couriers are organised around the country, they should aim to roughly plan several months of upcoming strikes.

In Bristol, there is still widespread appetite for more strikes among couriers. However, the core organising in “Bristol Couriers’ Network — IWGB” has waned slightly. This is contributed to by the insecurity and turnover of the job, the short notice of activity to pull together all the strikes in the last few months, language barriers with Brazilian motorcyclists, and us not having planned a longer term programme of strikes earlier.

The last three strikes were each three weeks apart, and each planned with nine or less days notice, one at a time. The strikes were effective and positive, and we chose to organise the follow up ones on those dates to strike simultaneously with other locations across the country. Had we planned the general shape of a programme of strikes — roughly three weeks apart for two months, then roughly two weeks apart, for example — in advance, this would have likely helped.

Doing so would have reduced the last-minute-ness of planning, and made it less likely for us to end up in a situation where there is wide support for strikes, but not an adequate mandate through a quorate general meeting. It would also have more concretely demonstrated what we were saying previously: we were not expecting to win our big wins off the back of a single strike, and were aiming for multiple. We are now rebuilding our core organisation and our direct links with a wider layer of Brazilian motorcyclists. It is important to emphasise that we have had several partial victories in Bristol.

For example, Deliveroo implemented a hiring freeze since at the latest late February, but likely before that, despite previous statements indicating intention to continuously recruit through until March. As we are paid per order, this directly effects the amount we can earn. Data seems to confirm that while average hourly pay had been more-or-less continuously falling from summer until January, it then stabilised, and is perhaps even increasing again.

Similarly, additional pay “boosts” not only on strike days but for several days after, from every announced strike, has been an immediate win. There are other partial wins, all of which should serve to remind couriers that when we strike, we can win.

• A fundraising page for the IWGB Couriers’ Strike Hardship Fund has been launched here

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