• Monday, June 27, 2022

HEADLINE STORY

Ocado under allegations of paying drivers ‘less than £5 an hour’

(Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Pooja Shrivastava

OCADO drivers, who are predominantly from ethnic minorities, are being paid below minimum wage, said a recent investigative report on Sunday (22), claiming that drivers’ wages have fallen by 50-70 per cent since June 2021 after the company brought in delivery partner Ryde.

 

Drivers have been working 14 hours a day 7 days a week, sometimes “for less than £5 an hour” while the size of delivery has increased which is creating health issues like back pain among drivers, said the report.

The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB), which represents the drivers, has said Ocado should take responsibility for the plight of its workers who carried on working throughout successive lockdowns.

Alex Marshall, IWGB’s president said that these drivers are key workers “who risked their lives during the pandemic delivering vital supplies for Ocado but are now seeing their pay slashed by a company that has seen profits skyrocket.”

Marshall added that IWGB will send an open letter to Ocado this week, “accusing the company of abandoning a precarious and predominately minority ethnic workforce”.

As per the report, the drivers, who deliver orders for Ocado Zoom, were previously guaranteed an hourly wage of £14. But now they are not employed directly by Ocado and there has been a massive drop in their income after the company brought in a new delivery partner, Ryde, in June.

“I’m making on average £50 on a 10-hour shift. And we pay for our own cars, tax, fuel and insurance out of that. It works out to less than £5 an hour. Ocado is treating us like dirt,” the outlet quoted Faizan Babar, who has been delivering Ocado groceries for more than two years, in the report.

Another driver based at the Ocado Zoom depot Ahmed Fahim, who has been dropping off Ocado groceries since 2019, also claimed that he was earning around £200 a week on the Ryde app. 

“Ocado treats people like shit,” the report quoted Fahim who added that he has been forced to cut back on everything apart from essentials to avoid going further into debt or having to use a food bank.

Apart from a sharp drop in pay, the size of the deliveries- which can include cans of beer and bottles of wine- is growing, as per the drivers who said that they used to split heavy loads but “Ryde is forcing us to take whatever Ocado gives us”, adding that most drivers “have shoulder and back pain.”

Ocado, which is half-owned by Marks & Spencer, said: “Ocado Zoom works with a number of third-party suppliers, and expects all of them to adhere to its high standards.”

Ryde said it is a “rider first” last-mile delivery business, with drivers free to work as it best suits them. “We put the welfare of our workforce at the heart of everything that we do,” said a spokesperson in the report.

 

 

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