Uber Eats workers join general fast food employees strike

Uber Eats riders and a small number of workers from JD Wetherspoon, McDonald’s and TGI Fridays are striking over pay on Thursday. Walkouts will be held in several UK cities, along with a rally in London.

The industrial action is being taken in tandem with strikes by fast food workers on four continents. UberEats, JD Wetherspoon and McDonald’s have defended their record on pay, while TGI Fridays had no immediate comment.

Uber Eats workers want to be paid £5 per delivery, and a further £1 per mile for each delivery.

These latest strikes follow a series of walkouts by UberEats drivers last month sparked by the company reducing its minimum payment per delivery from £4.26 to £3.50.

Uber Eats defended its pay scheme, arguing that the majority of its couriers used delivery work to supplement existing incomes.

“Last week couriers using our app in cities across the UK took home an average of £9-10 per hour during mealtimes, with many also using other delivery apps,” the firm said in a statement.

“The fact that Uber Eats drivers have decided to strike on the same day as us shows that low pay is an issue that affects people across the industry,” said a spokesman from the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU).

Workers at JD Wetherspoon, McDonald’s and TGI Fridays want to be paid £10 an hour. McDonald’s said support for the union among its staff was “diminishing” and “any suggestion that this activity is widespread and growing is not accurate”.

JD Wetherspoon has previously said it had announced pay rises worth £20m last year and £27m for this year. TGI Fridays had no immediate comment.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady told the BBC’s Today programme that the strike was “small but growing”.

She said some modern hospitality employers and technology firms were “using a very old form of exploitation”.

“We need the public and communities to support us,” she said. “We are seeing growing public concern.”

She said the firms could afford to award a pay rise “and should”.

Where will strikes take place?

Strikes by Uber Eats drivers will be held between 5pm and 6pm in London, Bristol, Brighton, Newcastle, Plymouth, Southampton, Glasgow and Cardiff, according to the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) union.

Workers at two Wetherspoon pubs in Brighton are expected to strike, BFAWU said.

They will be joined by workers from McDonald’s outlets in London, Cambridge and Watford, and TGI Fridays staff in Milton Keynes and two London branches.

A rally will also be held in London later.

The strikes are being held to coincide with industrial action over pay by fast food workers in Chile, Colombia, the US, Belgium, Italy, Germany, the Philippines and Japan on Thursday.