Yesterday, striking food delivery couriers, employed by the JustEat subcontractor Stuart Delivery, demonstrated outside of the Sheffield Archer Road McDonald’s. 60 drivers and supporters, joined by Paul Blomfield MP, blockaded the entrance to the McDonald’s, shutting down all orders for 45 minutes. Speeches were given by drivers and local business owners who came out to support the action.
Couriers began strike action on 6 December 2021, after Stuart Delivery cut the minimum delivery pay by 24%, from £4.50 to £3.40, following a gradual decline in pay and conditions. Couriers have been declining orders from McDonald’s between 5-8PM every evening for 40 days, and have recently started targeting Greggs and other restaurants. Strike action has also taken place in Sunderland, Chesterfield, Blackpool, and Huddersfield.
The strike, which has drawn support from 1000s of members of the public, local businesses and MPs, has already won two of its demands: paid waiting times and a resolution to an insurance issue that was resulting in wrongful terminations. Couriers are still calling on Stuart Delivery to reverse the pay cut and to implement a hiring freeze in Sheffield.
Raja Khan, Sheffield courier, said: “Stuart needs to listen to drivers. You can’t bring pay down when the cost of living is going up. It isn’t fair. Until they stop attacking the drivers they rely on, we will be forced to create disruption that Stuart and JustEat can’t ignore.”
Despite undertaking high-risk key work through the pandemic, Stuart couriers live on poverty pay and are forced to pay their vehicle costs and fuel out of their own wages. Meanwhile, in 2020, Stuart’s highest earning director received a 1000 percent pay rise over the previous year to over £2 million, as the corporation saw a £20 million increase in turnover during the height of the pandemic.