Now as a result of over-recruitment it is becoming relatively common to work on average for £4 an hour, especially during the day from Monday to Thursday, when you only get one delivery an hour. — Deliveroo serf, Brighton
To call this the gig economy is to make it sound glamorous. Call a spade a spade, call it by what it is, exploitation.
This is exploitation, serfs working for an app, a return to the Middle Ages, serfs working for a Feudal landlord.
This is to go backwards to the 1930s, when workers stood in the street, hoping to be hired by the day.
In Brighton visit the back streets of North Laine, opposite Small Batch coffee shop, and what do I find, cyclists hanging about, hoping to be hired, only now we have a high tech version, an app hires them to drop of one delivery.
Labour is a perishable good if not sold today, it cannot be sold tomorrow.
Yes we should be paying a decent wage, yes bumping up the drop rate, but it is tinkering and simply legitimatising an illegitimate system.
Deliveroo has different pay structures in different towns.
- In London, paid an hourly rate, then per item for delivery.
- In Brighton, only paid per delivery, four pounds per delivery.
- In Lincoln, paid £6 per hour, then £1 per delivery.
In practice, working for less then the minimum wage.
In Lincoln, timed from when receive instruction to when delivery dropped off. Under pressure on delivery time. If do not perform are ‘fired’.
In Guildford and Brighton, too many serfs all fighting for the same deliveries.
Two reasons why see Deliveroo serfs, riding through pedestrianised streets, riding wrong direction through one way streets:
- desperate to deliver to then pick up next delivery
- up against time pressures from Deliveroo
The Deliveroo serf has to bear all the costs, has to pay for the cycle, the insurance, even the Deliveroo gear.
Caroline Lucas has argued increase the drop rate from £4 to £5 in Brighton:
The growth of the online food delivery company, Deliveroo, in Brighton and Hove has been nothing short of phenomenal.
It’s a service that many local residents have embraced; and with so many amazing restaurants and food-outlets in the city, it’s easy to see why it’s an idea that has caught on.
Yet many of my constituents using the service, might well be unaware of the brewing dispute involving Deliveroo riders about unfair employment terms. Terms which class them as independent contractors instead of workers, and leaves them without the benefits that brings — like sick pay, holiday pay, and an entitlement to earn at least the minimum wage.
Deliveroo use the ‘gig economy’ model. This means that their riders get paid for each ‘gig’, in this case each food drop made, instead of a receiving regular wage paid at an hourly rate.
Are people in Brighton so lazy, cannot shop and prepare their own food, make the effort to visit a takeaway, or at the very least, make a phone call?
And with Wheelys, is anyone really going to order a coffee through an app?
Uber can undercut regulated taxis, not because of technological innovation, but because they are not regulated and do not bear the cost of regulation.
But if they really do need an app, then delete Deliveroo, and develop an open source platform operated as an open coop.
- Deliver2U Brighton
- Deliver2U Lincoln
- Deliver2U Guildford
Put Deliveroo out of business, as they would be unable to compete with an open source open coop platform. Especially if the Deliveroo serfs take with them all their existing customers.
A small fee would be paid for use of the platform, any ‘profit’ ploughed back into the platform or used to fund local community projects.
Deliveroo drains money out of the local economy. Deliver2U would recycle money within the local economy.
Delete Uber, support local taxis. I make one phone call or flag one down in the street. What do I need an app for?
Post-capitalism, we could see the economy and employment diverge.
Do we want a world of serfs working for apps, Uber, task rabbit, Deliveroo, Wheelys, atomised workers bidding against each other in negative auctions to drive wages below the minimum wage, of zero hours, bullshit jobs, of workers standing in the market place, the literal job market, hoping to be offered a job.
When a worker offers his labour, it is a perishable good, if not sold today, it cannot be sold tomorrow.
Deliveroo claim they have 100 serfs a week wishing to sign up in Brighton. That is is a measure of despair, the precarious nature of work postcaptitalism.
Or we can have a world of open source, peer-to-peer, sharing, collaborative commons, open coops.