Today was a historic day as defiant couriers who are part of the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB) took their first ever day of strike action in Leicester against their employer, Stuart Delivery (which itself is a subcontractor for JustEat). This represents an important step forward for our city, as the strike against gig economy mega-exploiter Stuart Delivery continues to spread across the country as angry workers are starting to fight back.
Couriers in Leicester have no choice but to fight and to build a mass movement amongst all workers to win their demands. Since December they have suffered a massive 24% cut in their base rate for deliveries, while watching gob-smacked as the former Lehman Brothers banker who runs Stuart Delivery upped his own salary by 1000% to over £2.2 million a year!
One courier of five years spoke of the urgent need to get organised, and to unite all workers to fight for basic humane treatment by their employer. He also understood that this is a struggle about more than couriers, as it is part of a struggle to democratize all workplaces, as prior to joining the gig economy he had worked for a decade for Samworth Brothers which is one of Leicester’s most notorious anti-union workplaces.
Today members from a variety of unions (including picketers who are presently on strike at the University of Leicester) and representatives from the Leicester and District Trades Union Council stood in solidarity on the picket line stationed outside Greggs, putting the call out to others to come out and support this critical strike throughout this week and into the future. The plan for this week at least is to meet outside Gregg stores from 12 to 3pm every day to demand no pickups from city centre shops.
As one IWGB member explained when the strike first took off in Huddersfield last December: “Stop ordering from Just Eat, we ask all people to stop ordering from Just Eat because they are not treating us fairly. They are building up their businesses but not looking after us. We request that they do not place an order with Just Eat until they listen to us.”
To join the union: https://iwgb.org.uk/en/join