HR · 20 June 2017

A damning insider’s account of working for Deliveroo

Pressure from he parliamentary Work and Pensions Committee led Deliveroo to scrap a clause preventing riders from working for other companies
Pressure from the parliamentary Work and Pensions Committee led Deliveroo to scrap a clause preventing riders from working for other companies
From humble beginnings in 2012 to a valuation of more than 1bn, it’s been a meteoric rise for the tech startup now synonymous with courier-delivered food. But what’s it really like working for Deliveroo? Business Advice brings you a damning indictment.

From students to freelancers, and from the unemployed to fitness freaks, working for Deliveroo has provided thousands of Brits with casual work which they can pick up and drop as they choose. But is it as simple as that.

Recent evidence has pointed towards exploitative practices and an environment that is anything but supportive to casual shifts taken at a worker’s will.

To lift the lid on what it is really like working for Deliveroo, in essentially a freelance, self-employed role, Business Advice heard from Jane a delivery rider who started taking shifts in Oxford in the summer of 2016.

She’s exclusively provided her insider’s account.

the fundamental issue with Deliveroo is that you are said to be ‘self-employed? and providing services? to Deliveroo, yet you are still told what to do regarding uniform, hours to work, which days you have to work, etc.

when you apply you are given an unpaid trial shift and follow a Deliveroo cyclist or a moped driver around for two hours while they take orders presumably so they can see if you are competent in riding/driving. They pick the ones that have been there longest apparently no one really stays for over a year merely as a cyclist/moped rider but this could just be in Oxford specifically.

when I joined last summer, I was told (by the Deliveroo cyclist on my trial shift) that you had to do two obligatory evening weekend shifts.

my friend, who joined a few months after this, was told the same thing informally? and then he read through the entire contract himself. There was no mention of this rule? whatsoever.

people on a group WhatsApp [a messaging app] were told by lead riders? (essentially your bosses but you are also self-employed, so shouldnt technically have this kind of hierarchy) there would be ‘strikes? if people did not work these obligatory? shifts (two of the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night shifts).

he got into a strange situation with the two lead riders that I don’t feel I have authority to disclose purely because I heard it very much from one side. He basically posted on this WhatsApp group of Oxford Deliveroo drivers saying that this obligatory two weekend minimum rule was bullshit? and therefore he was confronted.

another very new issue for me personally is the new pay scheme. Initially, when I joined in Oxford the pay was 6 per hour with a 1 per drop extra. However, I have recently switched (after much advertising and suggesting from Deliveroo) onto the pay scheme where there is no hourly fee and instead 3.75 per drop.

I know that there was huge resistance to this new scheme in London, and Deliveroo says it better because you can earn far more but I emailed one morning recently and said I wanted to return to the old scheme and was told my change will happen on 9 July.

this is ridiculous considering the date is about three weeks away and it took them under 24 hours to ask, and put me onto the new scheme.

when it’s quiet, and there arent many orders, this means that you can find yourself waiting, with your bike, in the street for potentially ten, 15 or 20 minutes at this point you are not getting paid at all.



Praseeda Nair is an impassioned advocate for women in leadership, and likes to profile business owners, advisors and experts in the field of entrepreneurship and management.

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