Just Eat Takeaway.com, said it will reorganise in Britain, ending a service by which it employs its own couriers, a decision that will impact the jobs of around 1,870 workers.
Just Eat Takeaway.com is laying off 1,700 delivery couriers across the UK and returning to the gig-economy model that its chief executive Jitse Groen had previously said “comes at the expense of society and workers themselves”.
Takeaway has been a prominent defender of European plans for rules giving couriers rights to full employment. However it also makes use of self-employed couriers, commonly referred to as “gig workers”, to deliver more than 90% of its meals in Britain.
The approximately 1,700 couriers employed by Just Eat’s British “Scoober” service have been given six weeks notice that they will no longer be employed on full contracts, Just Eat said in a statement.
Another 170 in the company’s operational department will also be impacted, the company said.
“Just Eat UK is reorganising and simplifying its delivery operation as part of the ongoing goal of improving efficiency,” said JET to Financial Times. “As part of this process we have proposed to transition away from the worker model for couriers.”
The move comes as food delivery companies are under pressure from investors to improve profitability amid a slowdown in demand following the sector’s lockdown-driven boom.
Earlier this month, JET reported a fivefold increase in pre-tax losses last year to €5.8bn, including a €4.7bn writedown on the merger of UK-based Just Eat and Netherlands-based Takeaway.com, and the group’s subsequent acquisition of US-based Grubhub.
The food delivery group had hired 1,700 couriers in six UK cities since launching what it calls its “Scoober” model in London in late 2020, as well as an operations team of around 170, most of whom will also be made redundant.
JET will now adopt the same self-employed model as Deliveroo and Uber Eats in the UK for meals delivered by its own couriers, although many orders placed by customers through its online marketplace are delivered by takeaway outlets’ own staff.
Just Eat reported a 10% drop in orders in the UK and Ireland in 2022, while revenues increased by 6%, thanks largely to restaurants increasing prices. The company has projected that adjusted earnings will grow from €19mn in 2022 to €225mn this year.
It said there would be “no impact” on customers or restaurant partners from the staffing changes.