Frank Field calls on Deliveroo to offer hourly rate pay to delivery riders in Birkenhead

Wirral Globe - 22 Feb 2019
A WIRRAL MP is calling on Deliveroo to guarantee an hourly rate pay for its delivery drivers ahead of the company's launch in Birkenhead next month.

The town's MP Frank Field has written to Will Shu, chief executive of the food delivery company, asking him to offer employees the rate on a trial basis when the service hits the town in March.

Last year Mr Field and his parliamentary colleague Andrew Forsey published a report highlighting the plight of some Deliveroo riders who earn as little as £2 to £3 per hour and recommended that the company should guarantee hourly pay rates - no less than the National Living Wage which, outside London, is £9 per hour.

The report stated that the online food delivery business model is built on riders being classed as ‘self-employed independent contractors’, meaning that they are not entitled to a minimum wage.

At the time Mr Field compared some working practices at the company to 'dockyards in the 20th century' when workers were often turned away from jobs.

Deliveroo responded saying that if they guaranteed their drivers National Living Wage then the 'flexibility' of their work would have to go.

Mr Field told the Globe: "We’ve seen from different parts of the country that Deliveroo’s model works well for some delivery riders and very poorly for others.

"Some delivery riders working for Deliveroo earn as little as £2 or £3 an hour.

"Others, in even more extreme circumstances, earn nothing at all at certain times while those at the other end of the scale sometimes reach £20 an hour.

"In seeking to help Deliveroo change radically the nature of work in the ‘gig economy’, so that all workers can earn a decent wage without necessarily sacrificing any flexibility, I’m asking the company to try out a new model in Birkenhead.

"Those people requiring greater stability and certainty in their work should be able to look to their firm to offer this prospect.

"Others who prize flexibility and only wish to work a smaller number of hours to suit their own needs, or wrap around other jobs, should be able to continue embracing the current model.

"However, what I’m proposing is that the company should guarantee hourly pay rates of no less than the National Living Wage for all the time that riders are logged in and available for work."

Earlier this week the Globe revealed that Deliveroo would be expanding its service to Birkenhead and is currently looking for new riders to sign up to deliver food across the town.

Deliveroo customers can schedule orders via an app up to one day in advance or receive food as soon as possible from independent eateries, traditional takeaways and chain restaurants.

A Deliveroo spokesman said: "We have received Frank Field's letter and will respond in due course.

"We are proud that we are creating well-paid flexible work across the UK where riders earn on average over £10 an hour.

"We look forward to working with riders restaurants and local figures like Mr Field as we expand to Birkenhead."

Lauren Jones, Wirral Globe