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12 Sep 2021

Alexandra Warren, Left Food Forward

UK: Ocado drivers vote to strike after facing dismissal threats for revealing working conditions & pay

"Ocado drivers vote for strike action after £5 an hour pay revelations", 12 September

The Observer reported on 21 August that drivers for Ocado Zoom, who are employed by a third party, had their earnings cut by 50% to 70% in June when the company brought in their new delivery partner, Ryde...

The union representing the workers, IWGB, launched a campaign against Ocado after drivers were threatened with job losses following the whistleblowing.

The majority of Ocado Zoom workers have now voted to take strike action, with the IWGB promising an escalating protest campaign unless Ocado agrees to enter negotiations....

Workers’ demands include trade union recognition, being brought in-house as workers, appropriate health and safety protections and £16 per hour pay...

In a statement...Ocado said...“Today we’ve announced that we’re moving into the final stages of recruiting our Ocado Zoom Acton delivery team and ending our current third party supplier arrangements. 

“As part of this process, all drivers currently working for our third party suppliers are being offered the opportunity to work directly for Ocado. 

“All driver roles at Zoom Acton pay the London Living Wage by the hour and include uniforms, delivery vehicles and motor insurance. Contracts can be adapted for the flexibility people need from full time to fully flexible. 

“Every role comes with market-leading employee benefits including health insurance, pension, holiday and share scheme.”

But the union said that no delivery drivers have been contacted directly to be offered in-house positions.

They claim that physical job adverts have been posted in the depot for another third party partner...

Ryde did not respond to a request for comment from LFF but in a previous statement, a spokesperson from the company said: “...We aim to pay 20 per cent above the market average, well ahead of both minimum wage and the London living wage and over 90 per cent of Ryde drivers earn above the London living wage. Driver pay does vary depending on the acceptance and fulfilment of jobs and the average driver pay for Ryde users is currently £12 p/h.

“We are concerned by recent media reports and are investigating the specific instances, although from an initial assessment of driver data we strongly refute that drivers are being paid below minimum wage for their work with Ryde.”