With the rising cost of living, many people are struggling to make ends meet. One of the options that some people choose is to work for gig economy platforms like Uber and Deliveroo, which offer flexible hours and easy access to work. However, these platforms also have a dark side: they pay their workers less than the minimum wage, do not provide any benefits or protections, and often exploit their workers’ vulnerabilities.
In this blog post, I will explore some of the issues that Uber and Deliveroo workers face, and why they deserve better treatment and compensation from these platforms. I will also discuss some of the actions that workers and consumers can take to support the gig economy workers’ rights and dignity.
Uber and Deliveroo are two of the most popular and profitable gig economy platforms in the world. They operate in hundreds of cities across dozens of countries, and have millions of customers and workers. They claim to provide a convenient and affordable service for consumers, and a flexible and independent work opportunity for workers. However, behind these claims lies a harsh reality: Uber and Deliveroo workers are often underpaid, overworked, and unprotected.
According to a recent study by the University of Oxford, Uber drivers in the UK earn an average of £5 per hour after deducting vehicle costs, which is well below the national minimum wage of £8.91 per hour. Similarly, Deliveroo riders earn an average of £6.89 per hour after deducting vehicle costs, which is also below the minimum wage. Moreover, these workers do not receive any sick pay, holiday pay, pension contributions, or other benefits that regular employees are entitled to. They also have to bear the risks and costs of accidents, injuries, thefts, and damages to their vehicles.
Furthermore, Uber and Deliveroo workers are subject to constant surveillance and control by the platforms’ algorithms, which monitor their performance, location, ratings, and acceptance rates. These algorithms can penalize or deactivate workers for any reason, such as rejecting too many orders, taking too long to deliver, or receiving negative feedback from customers. These penalties can affect workers’ earnings, reputation, and access to work. Moreover, these algorithms can also manipulate workers’ behavior by offering incentives or surge pricing for certain areas or times, which can lead to increased competition and stress among workers.
These conditions have a negative impact on workers’ well-being, health, and safety. Many Uber and Deliveroo workers report feeling anxious, depressed, isolated, and exploited by their work. They also face physical dangers such as road accidents, assaults, robberies, and harassment from customers or other road users. Some workers have even died or been seriously injured while working for these platforms.
These issues are not inevitable or unavoidable. They are the result of deliberate choices made by Uber and Deliveroo to maximize their profits at the expense of their workers’ rights and welfare. These platforms have resisted any attempts to regulate their business models or to recognize their workers as employees or even as workers. They have also fought against any efforts by their workers to organize themselves or to demand better conditions and pay.
However, there is hope for change. In recent years, there has been a growing movement of gig economy workers who have challenged these platforms’ practices and policies through legal actions, strikes, protests, and campaigns. These workers have demanded fair pay, benefits, protections, transparency, and respect from these platforms. They have also sought recognition and representation from trade unions or other organizations that can support their interests and voice their concerns.
Additionally, there is a role for consumers to play in supporting gig economy workers’ rights and dignity. Consumers can choose to boycott or reduce their use of these platforms until they improve their treatment and compensation of their workers. They can also tip their drivers or riders generously and rate them positively to show their appreciation and solidarity. They can also sign petitions or join campaigns that advocate for gig economy workers’ rights and regulations.
In conclusion, with the rising cost of living Uber and Deliveroo paying their employees less is unacceptable and unjustifiable. These platforms have exploited their workers for too long without facing any consequences or accountability. It is time for them to change their ways and respect their workers as human beings who deserve fair pay,