Socialist Worker

Uber Eats strikers summon solidarity at the tap of a button

by Alistair Farrow
Issue No. 2518

Striking riders picketing the Uber offices in Bermondsey

Striking riders picketing the Uber offices in Bermondsey (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Delivery riders working for Uber Eats struck yesterday, Friday, against the company’s attempt to cut their pay to just £3.22 per delivery.

At slow periods this would put some workers on as little as £3.22 an hour. Strikers demand the London Living Wage of £9.40 an hour.

The riders deliver food from restaurants to people’s houses on their bikes. The company regards them as self-employed.

When Uber started doing a delivery service riders were told that they would be on £12 to £15 an hour. But once they had grabbed a large share of the market they began to drop the rate.

So taking a leaf out of the Deliveroo strikers’ recipe book, workers organised a strike and picketed the company’s offices in Bermondsey, south London.

They plan to continue the strikes every Friday and potentially extend this to other days as well. Nadir told Socialist Worker, “We started striking yesterday and we’re still in the process of organising.

Uber’s model isolates drivers from each other. “The company logs you on and sends you out, they don’t give anyone training,” one rider explained.

Strikers rode through London

Strikers rode through London (Pic: Socialist Worker)


But riders turned the tables by using special offers on Uber's app to call other workers down to the picket line and talk to them about joining the strike.

Restaurant

Strikers demonstrated on their bikes, riding to Tinseltown, a restaurant in Farringdon, north London, that uses the Uber Eats delivery service.

They held a noisy demonstration to disrupt the restaurant’s business.

Management attempts to wear the workers down has only strengthened their resolve.

Management had tried to get drivers to come in from the picket line and talk individually. Drivers refused, demanding bosses negotiate collectively.

Workers have received anonymous phone calls asking for the details of strike leaders.

One worker, Imran, has had his app suspended. This effectively amounts to the sack.

“I’m afraid but I’m standing up for our human rights,” he told Socialist Worker. “When humans unite it’s a strong power, which Uber refuses to acknowledge.”

With unity and militant action the workers can win—and they know it. Nadir said, “We’ll see in the next few weeks. Once their profits get hurt badly maybe they’ll start thinking of us.”


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