Stuart courier drivers paid ‘less than minimum wage’ set to strike over new pay model

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Labour MP Olivia Blake was among those who turned out in the snow to show support for Stuart drivers ahead of strike action next month

Courier drivers for the app-based delivery firm Stuart are set to go on strike in Sheffield next week over proposed changes to their pay structure which they say will amount to a significant pay cut.

Backed by local MPs and a number of trade unions, couriers for Stuart, a third party courier which provides services for Just Eat among others, will go on strike on 6 December, with McDonalds the first of Stuart’s customers to be targeted.

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More than a hundred drivers, trade unionists and members of the public came out to Sheffield’s city centre yesterday (29 November), braving the snowy conditions to show support for the couriers ahead of the strike.

Stuart couriers gather in Sheffield to protest the new pay model (Photo: Ethan Shone)Stuart couriers gather in Sheffield to protest the new pay model (Photo: Ethan Shone)
Stuart couriers gather in Sheffield to protest the new pay model (Photo: Ethan Shone) | Ethan Shone

Labour MP for Sheffield Hallam Olivia Blake addressed crowds, along with one of the potential Labour candidates for South Yorkshire mayor, Lewis Dagnall.

She said: “Let’s not forget the last two years of hard, hard work that has been put in by frontline workers such as these drivers throughout the pandemic. And now it’s a pay cut, it should be a pay rise. It is absolutely unacceptable that they are introducing these pay cuts.

“Everyone should have rights at work from day one. It is so important that people right across the city get behind these drivers and support them.

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Blake said she will write to Stuart about her concerns, as well as JustEat, one of Stuart’s biggest customers.

She added that Labour MP for Sheffield central, Paul Blomfield, was unable to attend but will also take up the issue directly with Stuart.

Stuart couriers turned out despite the wintry weather (Photo: Ethan Shone)Stuart couriers turned out despite the wintry weather (Photo: Ethan Shone)
Stuart couriers turned out despite the wintry weather (Photo: Ethan Shone) | Ethan Shone

Long hours and no holidays

App-based couriers were designated as key workers during the pandemic, but Stuart is set to introduce changes to the pay structure which will see the base rate of pay for most  deliveries drop from £4.50 to £3.40.

Couriers who work for Stuart are not employed by the firm, meaning they don’t receive paid holidays and many other benefits, and have to cover all the costs of delivering themselves.

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Drivers, trade unionists and members of the public showed support for the strike (Photo: Ethan Shone)Drivers, trade unionists and members of the public showed support for the strike (Photo: Ethan Shone)
Drivers, trade unionists and members of the public showed support for the strike (Photo: Ethan Shone) | Ethan Shone

Stuart is set to introduce the new pay structure at a time when the cost of living has risen significantly, as well as the costs of doing business for drivers, including fuel and insurance.

Speaking to NationalWorld, Stuart courier Bahador said: “A lot of our time is wasted in traffic or in restaurants, waiting for the orders to be prepared. We get no income for this time wasted.

“During the pandemic we went out and worked, delivering food for people so they could stay at home and protect the NHS.”

Speaking to NationalWorld, President of the Sheffield IWGB JustEat Branch, Parirs Dixon, said: “Everything in the UK has gone up: gas, electricity, petrol, diesel, national insurance. It’s all going up, and they’re trying to hit us with a pay cut.

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“We do at least 50-100 miles every day over a 8-12 hour shift. There’s business insurance, which can end up being thousands per year on top of normal insurance, and we often come back to a ticket when we’re parked up.

“I work 7am until 9pm pretty much every day, including weekends. And I can get paid as much as £650, but after we pay everything off, many of us are lucky to come away with £300 or £350 for ourselves, which works out at less than minimum wage.”

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