Apps & Technology

Deliveroo hits back at Frank Field report

Deliveroo has issued to a statement to Catering Today hitting back at MP Frank Field following his report into the working conditions of the company’s riders.

The door-to-door app said that it welcomes Field’s comments regarding the benefits of ‘gig-economy’ work, but says his report makes “a number of claims that are incorrect”. Deliveroo says implementing Field’s proposals would see riders lose flexible working hours.

A Deliveroo spokesperson said: “Deliveroo is proud to offer flexible well-paid work where riders on average earn well over £10 an hour, well above the National Living Wage. In the modern economy people want to fit their work around their lives, not the other way round. This is why working with Deliveroo is so popular as it gives riders total flexibility.

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“Riders choose how much they want to work and when, and are very clear they want to protect the flexibility that self-employment provides. Deliveroo believes more can be done to increase the security for riders while protecting their ability to be their own bosses, which is why we have introduced free, market-leading insurance for all, covering riders in case anything goes wrong.

“But we want to go further, and have called on the Government to update employment rules to end the trade-off between flexibility and security and enable platforms to offer riders even more benefits without putting their employment status at risk.”

Deliveroo issued the below set of bulletpoints describing “how riders ride with Deliveroo”:

  • Riders on average make over £10.00 per hour across the UK, well above the National Living Wage
  • This rises to £12.00 an hour for those solely on the fee per delivery model
  • 84% of our riders are happy or very happy working with us
  • On average, riders in UK work fewer than 16 hours per week
  • Only one in ten riders cite Deliveroo as their main source of income
  • In a recent survey of UK riders, 85% agree that flexibility is what they value most about working with Deliveroo
  • Half of riders are students and 40% have caring responsibilities, which is why flexibility is so important
  • 60% of riders have been logged in to multiple delivery apps at the same time. In some areas it is 100%

As well as supporting Field’s comments that “Deliveroo has opened up the prospect of work to many people on the fringes of the labour market who would otherwise struggle to find a job”, Deliveroo acknowledged that Field heard from “a broad range of riders”.

In response to Fields comments on ensuring Deliveroo paid the minimum wage, Deliveroo said: “The Frank Field report recommends that all riders should be paid by the hour. This fails to consider how the gig economy works in practice. Riders work for multiple companies simultaneously, can work for as long as they want, with the ability to reject work that is offered to them.

“As the Matthew Taylor Report itself says: ‘Platforms do not place limits on when individuals can log onto the app but no individual should be expecting to be paid for all the time that he or she has the app open, it would clearly be unreasonable if someone could log onto an app when they know there is no work and expect to be paid’.

“The consequence of an hourly system would be that riders would be working exclusively for one employer for a period of time that would be set by that employer, during which they would be obliged to perform certain tasks. This is incompatible with the flexibility that characterises on demand working, which riders tell us is their number one reason for working with Deliveroo.”

Deliveroo pointed out the parts of Field’s report it felt were “incorrect”, saying: “It is untrue that Deliveroo deliberately maintains an oversupply of riders, as contributions to the report allege. Rider onboarding is frequently paused to avoid oversupply and the company has designed an in-app booking tool to give all riders fair access to work.

“The company works tirelessly to match customer demand with rider supply and takes very seriously the responsibility of providing fair, well-paid work for every rider.

“We reject claims that riders are required to work set shift patterns or are left unable to find work every week. Riders decide where and when to work, and for how long they do so. As such, there is never any need for riders to tell us in advance when they plan to work and riders are able to log in at any time in response to our need for services.

“Riders asked for our in-app booking tool (SSB) as it helps them choose to work when they are best able maximise their earnings. We offer a limited amount of booking slots in booking zones to avoid oversupply. It is designed to give all riders fair access to work. It matches the number of riders needed with the number of orders we expect at any given time and place, giving riders security over how much they can earn.”

Alongside commenting on Field’s report, Deliveroo said it wants to “end the trade-off between flexibility and security in employment law” adding: “On Monday, Deliveroo proposed new Charter to allow companies to give greater security to the self-employed. The creation of a new Charter would allow on-demand companies to provide benefits to riders without compromising their self-employment status.

“Deliveroo has suggested that the Government could look to the French Assembly, where legislators are taking steps to end the current trade off between flexibility and security for those working with platforms such as Deliveroo

“Deliveroo has been a leader in the debate about the on-demand economy, offering accident insurance protection to riders whilst they’re out on the road. The company wants to go further, but doing so risks compromising the flexibility riders value. The call was part of Deliveroo’s full response to the Government’s consultation on the Matthew Taylor Review.”

Deliveroo has issued a Submission to UK Govt Review on Employment Status.

Catering Today recently commissioned a special feature looking at the effects of Deliveroo on the restaurant industry.

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