Don’t be fooled by Deliveroo’s share handout – 30,000 workers are excluded from its success

Deliveroo rider

Companies like Uber and Deliveroo are corporate rent seekers, not decent employers.

This week Deliveroo announced it was handing over a share pot worth £10m to its employees, but the firm’s 30,000 riders won’t be cycling off with a windfall anytime soon. This lolly is reserved for 2,000 management insiders, because Deliveroo insists its riders are self-employed contractors not worthy of a stake in the business literally built on their backs.

Deliveroo founder Will Shu explained the scheme in a letter to the chosen ones:

“Deliveroo’s success is not just my success. It’s our success. This is not just my company. It’s our company.”

Tech start-ups often hand out shares to staff, usually redeemable when an “exit” happens – Silicon Valley code for when venture capitalists liquidate their position and cash in. “Exit” thinking permeates management culture in gig economy firms. Everything is focused on the final sale and the big pay day, rather than running the business as an ongoing concern.

Never mind if the growth is unprofitable and unsustainable. Never mind if workers are getting burned out or are being exploited. Just call them self-employed contractors, and pay them a piece rate. Never mind if workers exit, get sick or are injured. Thanks to loopholes in the law, there is no employer liability or duty of care here.

Excluding Deliveroo riders from the share scheme is symptomatic of a more serious crisis in capitalism. In the old days, the bosses supplied the capital while workers brought their labour and both sides fought it out for a share of the spoils. Today, workers supply the capital and the labour, yet still lose the battle for fairness. Companies like Uber and Deliveroo have mastered technology on such a scale that they have become corporate rent seekers. They transfer responsibility for operational risk …read more

Source:: New Statesman


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