The Workers Union has hit out at delivery company chiefs, telling them to make the ‘safety of drivers their first priority.’
In a statement released this morning, a spokesperson for the organisation said: ‘The news is awash with examples of delivery drivers working in conditions that are completely unacceptable. Every day brings another case of the abuse and intimidation these hard-working people face, simply for trying to do their jobs. Bosses need to take extra measures to ensure the safety of their staff, but many of them seem content to count the cash while their employees count the cost.’
The Workers Union’s statement comes after reports emerged of an ongoing campaign of violence towards Deliveroo drivers in Hull. In one instance a man was kicked and stamped on outside a shopping centre, while others have been victims of criminal damage to property and the theft of their motorcycles. Drivers have also complained about “no-go zones” where making deliveries is too risky to consider.
Risks to drivers are not just confined to physical acts of harm, however. Supermarket giant Sainsbury’s failed to supply their delivery drivers with any air-con during the recent scorching temperatures, leading concerned members of the general public to tweet the company.
In response, Sainsbury’s said that their ‘online vehicles don’t have air conditioning in the cabs.’
‘We have processes in place for our drivers during extreme weather,’ they added.
The Workers Union Says…
These incidents are not isolated events. They are the consequence of less than dutiful company policies and an attitude towards delivery drivers that makes them a focus of public anger. This anger may come from other places – the stressful job, the lack of money – or it may be borne of sheer boredom. Whatever it’s source, the rest of us should not get a free pass to vent it in the direction of those who are simply trying to earn a crust.
While the wider social issues are a conundrum for politicians to solve, senior execs can help by considering changes to the way they do business. We understand that in platform models this presents challenges. Safety cannot be guaranteed and some issues will be tougher to crack than others. That notwithstanding, there is a genuine need to challenge the idea that workers will put up with anything for the sake of a wage.