Sherlock meets Deliveroo workers, says company must respond to their demands
19 February 2021
Seanad Whip and Spokesperson on Employment Affairs, Media, Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht
Following meetings between Labour Party Spokesperson on Employment Affairs Senator Marie Sherlock and Dublin-based Deliveroo workers, she is now is now urging both policymakers and their employer to respond to their demands, saying action is long overdue. Senator Sherlock has written to Deliveroo’s representatives in Ireland, urging action on the substantial injustices facing their workers, and which influenced the workers’ decision to strike in recent weeks.
She relayed a deep sense of unease among the Deliveroo workers as to their pay, conditions, and the nature of their employment for the company. In the wake of physical attacks on delivery workers in parts of Dublin in recent weeks, Sherlock said that the company’s response has been lacklustre, and that the workers want to see a greater commitment to safety and protection from Deliveroo going forward.
Senator Sherlock said:
“From my time speaking with workers for the company, a recurring complaint has been Deliveroo’s failure to provide sick pay or medical assistance to those who incur an injury in the course of their work. I understand that no financial assistance is forthcoming from the company when a rider is injured or falls sick. The lack of trade union representation in the delivery sector has made it easy for employers to ignore the concerns of their workers, and I am glad to stand with the workers as they seek to make their voices heard.
“Given the physical attacks on riders in parts of the city in recent weeks, it is incumbent on the company to ensure better protections for workers going about their shifts. I understand that Deliveroo are currently developing a button which workers could press in the event of an attack, alerting their fellow riders in the area as to what is happening. I question whether such a measure will not in fact endanger riders further, and whether alerting the Gardaí would be the more appropriate course of action. I await updates from Deliveroo on the purpose and functionality of this button.
On the riders paltry pay she said:
“A model has been allowed develop whereby many workers, cycling across the city come rain, hail or shine, nonetheless still often earn less than the National Minimum Wage. The situation of these workers, experiencing low pay and working in arduous conditions, represents some of the worst of the contemporary Irish economy.
“It is long past time that we make reforms to how the gig economy works in this country. These workers deserve fair pay, decent conditions, and the dignity of knowing that their employer will look out for them when they suffer injuries or experience harassment and attacks. The judgement of the UK Supreme Court today asserting that Uber drivers are indeed workers may be an indication that the tide is turning, and that the calls for regulation of the gig economy are bearing fruit. There’s been a lot of talk around this issue in recent years, but Deliveroo must now respond to their workers’ demands and improve the lot of this vulnerable cohort of workers in our towns and cities.”