Deliveroo riders in Nottingham say they are suffering a “slow redundancy” after the food delivery firm recently started to prioritise moped riders and drivers.
Nottinghamshire Live reports that several Deliveroo cyclists have seen the number of shifts available to them sharply diminish in recent weeks.
Stew Kemp, who had worked to become a ‘priority rider’ by regularly covering weekend shifts, said he was now looking for another job.
While he also works part-time in a shop, he says this is not enough to cover his bills and money for food.
"I had been working and I've seen our numbers dwindle," he said. "So I asked my mate and he said he only had one hour of work for the week.
"It's horrible to be doing it for almost two years in the snow and the rain and everything to be cancelled out."
Bradford iww here supporting couriers. 20-25 riders at the Leeds picket.
One worker has been working 55 hour weeks with Deliveroo for 4 years, but because he uses a bike and not a motorbike or car his hours are being cut to 10 hours with no notice. Many similar stories. pic.twitter.com/FW5wsUVdiZ
— Bradford IWW (@IwwBradford) July 12, 2019
Greg Howard, a Deliveroo rider and chairman of the Nottingham Riders Network, explained that a new metric known as 'vehicle priority' now rewarded those in motor vehicles as they could better serve customers outside of the city boundary.
“I find it abhorrent,” he said. “It's a slow redundancy."
Howard said Deliveroo had removed all advertisements for cyclists, even though the first order was made on a bicycle by co-founder Will Shu.
"This is not affecting London or Bristol because you do not have to wait to book shifts,” he said. “In Nottingham you do."
Deliveroo is forcing cyclists off the app & out of work by giving shift priority to cars & scooters.
— IWGB Couriers Branch (@IWGB_CLB) July 12, 2019
A Deliveroo spokesman said: "Deliveroo is on a mission to ensure that everyone has access to amazing meals, delivered. To achieve this in certain areas we need to ensure we have the right fleet mix to match the growth in customer demand.
"We have made a small change to our online booking portal which will mean that as we create more work in Nottingham, we will have enough vehicles capable of also making longer distance orders that customers want.
"Deliveroo isn’t saying goodbye to pedal power, quite the opposite in fact, and will also continue to roll out measures such as subsidised e-bike schemes."
Kemp said: "I got into Deliveroo because I was in a terrible job where I was treated badly and it gave me anxiety.
"Deliveroo helped me come off my anxiety tablets but now it has made me more worried. I work 15 hours a week in a shop which only covers my rent and council tax.
"I'm on an electricity meter and I have no money for food. You used to be able to log in and get any shifts, cancel when you wanted but now there's no leeway, it's completely strict.
"It used to be only within a three-mile radius and now they're saying you need to cycle from West Bridgford to Bulwell. The priority should be for cyclists not vehicles."
On Friday, riders in Nottingham and Leeds went on strike about the changes. A petition has also been launched asking that cyclists be given fair access to work.