Deliveroo must stop hiding behind legislation in failing to have sick pay

18 March 2021

Labour Party Spokesperson on Employment Affairs Senator Marie Sherlock met with representatives from Deliveroo this afternoon, where she urged the company to engage with their workers and with the trade union movement in relation to the serious concerns around the workers’ pay and conditions.

Senator Sherlock said:

“A lack of sick pay, no assistance from the company if a rider is injured in the course of their work, pay as low as €2.90 per delivery, wholly inadequate protective clothing and the lack of an emergency alert function on the app are among some of the major concerns articulated by the Deliveroo workers I have met over recent weeks.

“In defending their position, Deliveroo stated that while the company would like to offer more benefits, legally they felt they could not, as to pay sick pay would expose them to legal action where their workers could be classified as employees as opposed to self employed. I believe Deliveroo is hiding behind current employment legislation to justify not looking after their workers fairly or properly.

“While the company did say that they provide some type of payment for physical injury on the job and that there is some payment in respect of a loss of earnings, no detail could be provided at the meeting. It’s clear from my conversations with workers that this has not been their experience working for Deliveroo here in Dublin. We would welcome any actual detail on this payment – including who exactly it applies to.

“Ultimately, the situation of the workers will only improve if Deliveroo start to engage with the worker’s union, SIPTU, and if there is a change in legislation forcing platforms to properly respect those working for them. So far, Deliveroo has refused to meet with SIPTU but today they provided some positive signal that they are willing to meet.

“I was heartened to see yesterday’s announcement from Uber in the United Kingdom, that they will begin to offer drivers minimum pay, holiday pay and pension entitlements. It’s increasingly clear that despite what is often claimed, the so-called ‘gig economy’ can in fact co-exist with the kind of hard-fought protections that all workers deserve. This has come about because of legislation in the UK and because of the enormous efforts by the GMB trade union to vindicate the rights of the workers.

“Deliveroo workers have been to the fore in recent weeks, making their voices heard through temporary work stoppages and public protests. Deliveroo must meet with the workers’ representatives and representatives from the trade union movement to discuss a way forward that brings sustainable benefits to workers, customers, restaurants and the delivery industry.”

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