A number of activists occupied the UK head office of fast-food delivery firm JustEat in London yesterday, in solidarity with striking couriers across the north of England.
Couriers who work for the Stuart platform, a delivery partner of JustEat, are currently on strike in Sheffield, Chesterfield, Blackpool and Sunderland over what they say is a 25% pay cut.
‘Pay rise, not a pay cut’
A number of activists gained access to the London headquarters of JustEat yesterday (20 December).
The group staged a ‘sit-in’ in the lobby of the app-based delivery firm’s offices, holding signs expressing solidarity with Stuart couriers - who often carry out deliveries ordered through the JustEat app - and calling for the amended pay structure to be amended.
The activists, who describe themselves as the ‘JustEat Occupiers’, came from all over the UK to support the striking couriers.
They held signs referencing the 1000% pay increase that Stuart’s director received in 2020, and calling on the delivery firms to offer drivers “a pay rise, not a pay cut”.
One also held up signs referencing the ongoing JustEat strikes in Italy, where drivers are also campaigning for better pay and working conditions.
The group were eventually escorted from the site without incident.
Though not affiliated with the Independent Workers of Great Britain (IWGB) trade union which is coordinating the strike actions, the JustEat Occupiers expressed solidarity with the union and its striking members.
Couriers who work for Stuart, and indirectly for JustEat which is a partner firm of Stuart, have been hit with a change to their pay structure which they say amounts to a significant pay cut.
The per-drop rate for each delivery has been cut from £4.50 to £3.40, and though Stuart has claimed the cut will be offset by a new distance-based fee, drivers are already reporting a drop in their income by more than £100 per week in some cases.
Couriers are asking for a £6 per drop rate plus paid waiting times and a distance-based payment.
Strike action began in Sheffield on 6 December and has continued since, making it the longest gig economy strike in UK history.
The strikes have been targeting McDonalds branches in the city with a picket, forcing several branches to shut down the delivery function or close altogether for large periods.
There have since been further strikes in Chesterfield, Huddersfield, Blackpool and Sunderland.
A spokesperson for Stuart said: “The change to our pay model was made to ensure couriers on the Stuart platform will be paid more fairly based on the distance they travel per delivery.
“This is part of our commitment to being the best delivery platform for couriers looking for flexibility and financial stability.
“The new model has been developed so that it works for all couriers, whether they do shorter deliveries more frequently or fewer, longer trips, and will continue to guarantee pay per hour that is among the highest in the sector.”
JustEat is yet to respond to a request for comment on this article.