A recent Labour conference event supported by Deliveroo, titled ‘Distinguishing between good and bad work in the gig economy,’ has come under scrutiny for not featuring any gig economy workers on its panel for the second consecutive year. The panel included Labour’s shadow work and pensions secretary, Liz Kendall, Deliveroo’s founder and CEO, Will Shu, a representative from the GMB union, and a member of the Tony Blair Institute. Despite addressing the intricacies of the gig economy, the absence of a gig economy worker on the panel raised questions about the event’s authenticity.
Will Shu, who previously worked as a rider when establishing Deliveroo, responded to inquiries about the absence of a gig economy worker, stating, “This term ‘gig economy’ is such a broad widespread term when in reality, how all these businesses operate is highly nuanced… I don’t know why there’s not a representative. Maybe next time we can have [a gig economy worker].” Shu emphasized the appeal of flexibility in Deliveroo roles, suggesting that riders choose the platform due to the job’s flexible nature.
Labour’s Angela Rayner recently vowed to ban zero-hour contracts and enhance union powers in the first 100 days of a Labour government during her conference speech in Liverpool.
Discussing gig economy controversies regarding workers’ rights and working conditions, Liz Kendall voiced her support for an independent regulator for the gig economy to streamline addressing issues without resorting to legal action.
In 2022, Deliveroo announced a union “partnership” with GMB, which faced criticism for obstructing recognition of the IWGB union and not providing employee status for workers, denying them essential employment rights like sick pay and redundancy pay.
OpenDemocracy reached out to Deliveroo for comments on the matter.