Students make up half of Deliveroo’s 15,000 riders
Anna Isaac ABOUT half of Deliveroo’s 15,000 selfemployed riders, who deliver takeaway meals on bicycles, are students who prefer flexible working, a select committee heard yesterday.
Of the fleet of riders, 66pc work fewer than 15 hours a week, supporting the idea that this is an activity that complements other working or activities such as studying, according to the evidence of Dan Warne, managing director, UK and Ireland, at Deliveroo.
Speaking before MPs on the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, as part of the Taylor Review into modern working practices, including those of the “gig economy” and its impact on workers’ rights, Mr Warne said that the company wanted to offer increased benefits for riders, such as insurance, but only if the flexibility of the system of independent contractors could be retained.
Mr Warne noted that the company had grown 600pc in 2016 and now employs over 900 full-time equivalent staff; a feat that he believed was only possible because of the ability to service high demand, with a rider model whose flexibility was its key attraction. He was joined in front of the select committee by representatives from taxi app company Uber and delivery firm Hermes.
A freelance courier for Hermes said on calling in sick he was told that he was less important than a parcel, according to Labour committee member, Peter Kyle MP. This testimony reflected a “complete chasm”, according to Mr Kyle, between the positive and flexible working life the firm presented and the evidence the committee had received. Hugo Martin, director of legal affairs at Hermes, said that he had not heard of such practices taking place.
Dan Warne from Deliveroo said its workers benefited from flexible shifts