Valentine’s Day Strike by Dublin Food Delivery Riders

James

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Over Valentine’s Day, food delivery riders in Dublin planned to join an international protest against low wages, aligning with similar actions in the UK and the US.

Courier riders planned an event to switch off their delivery apps between 5 pm to 10 pm, and gather on February 14th, Wednesday, at The Spire on O’Connell Street. This would potentially result in fewer active delivery services during those hours.

Deliveroo, Just Eat, and Uber Eats’ employees have taken to the streets due to the inadequate wages offered by their employers.

It is commonly alleged by numerous riders, most of whom are from Brazil and other South American regions, that their payment has decreased significantly to just €1 per transaction. This is hardly enough to cover cost of living, let alone loans to pay off bicycles and renting accounts from those with the necessary visas.

aims to provide riders with the flexible work riders tell us they value, attractive earning opportunities and protections

A spokesperson for Deliveroo

Previously in London, hundreds of riders staged protests resulting in food order delays and cancellations, leading to a meeting between riders and management from Deliveroo.

Portuguese-speaking riders, advocating for enhanced pay rates, have mobilised their colleagues through social media, generating momentum for the strike in Ireland.

Over 600 individuals in Dublin have signed up for a WhatsApp group to coordinate the protest, although it’s not clear how many of them intend to ride.

In total, there are around 3,000 delivery riders operating in Ireland.

This workforce faces daily challenges such as assaults, bicycle theft, and other crimes.

Fiachra Ó Luain, the labour advocate for the English Language Students’ Union of Ireland, endorsed the work stoppage, urging the public to show support and acknowledge the challenges faced by food delivery riders. He claims that “the algorithms are incentivising risk”, citing that riders were being asked to go into Parnell Street during the Dublin riots.

The union is an informal network that seeks better working conditions for English language students. Most of their members are allowed to work up to 20 hours per week, and delivery work has proven most suitable for many.

Ó Luain said that “St. Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to express love and appreciation for our fellow human beings. Members of the public are urged to express their support in practical ways as well as bringing these important issues up with their elected representatives and any candidate they interact with in the run up to the local and European elections.”

What the Delivery Service Companies Say

Deliveroo claims that their rider retention rates are high and many of their riders say they are satisfied. Through a spokesperson, Deliveroo relayed that it is “pleased to be able to offer riders free insurance, sickness cover, financial support when riders become new parents and a range of training opportunities.”

The spokesperson for Uber Eats said that they “offer a flexible way for couriers to earn by using the app when and where they choose. We know that the vast majority of couriers are satisfied with their experience on the app, and we regularly engage with couriers to look at how we can improve their experience.”

Just Eat claims that the issue has not been brought to their attention internally but expressed that they take the concerns of couriers “extremely seriously”. The company reinforces its dedication to ensuring the well-being of its delivery staff and remaining responsive to any grievances they may express through their regular pulse surveys, emails, offline messaging with courier support, and chat function in the app during a delivery run.

At this point, what the strike on Valentine’s Day will accomplish remains to be seen.

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