The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain is running a campaign to help Deliveroo couriers take legal action to ensure they are guaranteed basic rights - including the right to the minimum wage and the right to holiday pay. We talked to Callum Cant - he’s a Deliveroo driver who is writing ‘Working for Deliveroo’ - a book due to be published by Polity Press that promises to give the inside scoop on exactly what it’s like to work for the food takeaway giant We caught up with Callum to talk about the ‘gig economy’ and find out what it’s like to work for one of the most valuable start-ups in the UK.
CrowdJustice: What is it like working for Deliveroo?
Callum Cant: Working for Deliveroo is hard, dangerous and precarious. There are times when the job can be brilliant - cycling around the city without a supervisor constantly moaning in your ear has its benefits. But ultimately, you're always making other people money, you can't guarantee you'll make above minimum wage, and there is a serious risk of injury at all times.
CrowdJustice: How do you think working for Deliveroo or other ‘gig economy jobs’ compares to “normal” work?
Callum: The biggest difference between working for Deliveroo and other low paid jobs I've done is the technology used to manage you. When I used to work in restaurants I always had someone telling me what to do. With Deliveroo, it was just an app.
CrowdJustice: What is the hardest part about being a Deliveroo driver?
Callum: The insecurity of earnings as a Deliveroo rider can cause immense pressure. The feeling of earning £4 an hour, of knowing you're being exploited so viscerally, is pretty unpleasant.
CrowdJustice: What would your advice be to someone either considering working for Deliveroo or who has just started working for the company?
Callum: Organise. The only way for Deliveroo workers to get a better deal for themselves is to stick together and fight like hell. There is now an international movement of food platform workers. The list of cities where workers have taken action is almost endless: Plymouth, Leeds, London, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow. Brighton, Berlin, Paris, Milan, Bologna, Brussels, Amsterdam, Vienna, Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Hong Kong, Melbourne and more. These workers are beginning to have the power to push these companies back. In Italy, workers have now forced food platforms in the city of Bologna to enter into a city-wide collective bargaining agreement with their unions.
Together, with the support of unions like the IWGB [Note: The IWGB is funding on CrowdJustice to fight for the rights of Deliveroo workers - you can donate to the case, and help couriers who are trying to organise], workers can change the direction of the gig economy - and when organised worker power starts to do that, then we can think about how we use that power to change the whole of society.
CrowdJustice: Thanks so much for talking to us, Callum.
If you want to get involved in helping to #DeliverJustice, read more about the campaign.