Alistair Tice, Sheffield Socialist Party
“Just Eat-Stuart, you’re no good, pay your workers, what you should!” was the chant as over 100 trade unionists and students in Sheffield rallied in support of delivery drivers on their 31st day of targeted strike action against company pay cuts. Banners in four languages reflected the ethnic minority background of most of the couriers, and also the international reach that this gig economy dispute has had.
One of the drivers, Bryn, described how because of the 24% cut in the base rate of pay introduced by Stuart on 6 December he had to work longer, drive much further, and saw his family less, just to pay the bills. Another driver, Pastor Luke, called the strike “a war” against Stuart and Khalil said: “We’re winning, and we will win!”
Lots of supporters expressed their solidarity, including Socialist Party member Holly Johnson, speaking on behalf of ‘NHS Workers Say No’.
On day 32 of the strike, 25 drivers, mostly members of the IWGB independent union, met at the weekly strike committee and voted to step up the action by targeting Greggs shops (which only use the Just Eat delivery app) across teatime, and locking down six outlets (including McDonald’s, KFC and Subway) in the afternoons at Woodseats retail park, and refusing to accept any orders at any client at any time for less than £4.
Having forced Stuart into face-to-face meetings, won improvements over car insurance renewal and the restoration of paid waiting times, and with strike action restarting at Sunderland, Chesterfield and soon in Blackpool, the drivers are determined and confident that they can stop the pay cuts and win recognition for the IWGB. Then they will take the fight to UberEats and Deliveroo, whose pay is even worse.