Food delivery riders in Dublin are to strike on Valentine’s Day in protest over levels of pay that they say are too low. The planned action will coincide with similar demonstrations in the UK and the US.
A group of riders plan to meet at the Spire on O’Connell Street at 5pm on Wednesday and say they will switch off their delivery apps between 5pm and 10pm, potentially leaving customers without available couriers.
The riders, many of whom are from Brazil and other South American countries, have cited the poor rates of pay offered by Deliveroo, Just Eat and Uber Eats for their protest. A union representing riders says payment has fallen to as little as €1 per order.
Riders say that payments have decreased over time and many are paying-off loans for bicycles and renting accounts from others with the necessary visas.
Earlier this month, hundreds of riders protested in London, causing food orders to be delayed and cancelled, prompting a meeting between riders and a delegation from Deliveroo management.
Portuguese-speaking riders seeking to achieve better pay rates have galvanised their colleagues into action through social media posts, with momentum spreading to Ireland.
It is unclear what proportion of Dublin-based riders will participate in the strike, but an informal WhatsApp group on which the protest is being organised has more than 600 members. There are an estimated 3,000 delivery riders working in Ireland.
Fiachra Ó Luain, labour rights’ officer for the English Language Students’ Union of Ireland, an informal, multilingual network seeking better working conditions for English language students, said many of its members engage in delivery work and are permitted to work up to 20 hours per week.
“St Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to express love and appreciation for our fellow human beings,” Mr Ó Luain said. “Members of the public are urged to express their support in practical ways as well as bringing these important issues up with their elected representatives and any candidate they interact with in the run up to the local and European elections.”
A spokesperson for Deliveroo said the company “aims to provide riders with the flexible work riders tell us they value, attractive earning opportunities and protections”.
“Rider retention rates are high and the overwhelming majority of riders tell us that they are satisfied working with us. We are pleased to also be able to offer riders free insurance, sickness cover, financial support when riders become new parents and a range of training opportunities.”
An Uber Eats spokesperson said: “We offer a flexible way for couriers to earn by using the app when and where they choose. We know that the vast majority of couriers are satisfied with their experience on the app, and we regularly engage with couriers to look at how we can improve their experience.”
Just Eat was contacted for a comment.