Cycle couriers working for takeaway delivery app Deliveroo are to hold a protest ride in Leeds tonight.
Commuters have been warned to expect disruption when the convoy sets off at 6pm from City Square.
The mass bike ride has been organised to protest against the company's treatment of its delivery riders, and will involved members of the Industrial Workers of the World union, campaign group Plan C, Deliveroo staff and customers.
Starting at the app's Leeds office, the riders will cover a route that takes them past the restaurants and takeaways which use the service. Organisers claim that seven local riders were sacked after being identified as union members.
The demonstrators object to Deliveroo's use of self-employed couriers, who have fewer rights that regular employees.
The managing director of the app's UK and Ireland operation appeared before a Commons Select Committee last month to answer questions about the brand's role in the 'gig economy'. MPs have expressed concern over riders who lack insurance, sick pay, holiday entitlement, maternity benefits or a secure contract.
A statement from the organisers reads:
“Here in Leeds riders were concerned about proposed changes to their working conditions and began to meet together to discuss how things could be improved. Management infiltrated a private chat on social media. This led to the sacking or severe restricting of hours of seven workers who were identified as union members, one of whom has since been reinstated with the help of the IWW. Six others are still in need of support.
“This ride is for them, and for all those affected locally by the so called ‘gig economy’. We want our couriers to be offered proper worker recognition including secure contracts, safe and fair working conditions along with better communication with the management of Deliveroo.
“We also want a freeze on recruitment to allow the established riders enough available hours to make a fair living. We also want companies like Deliveroo to shoulder their fair share of the tax burden like other Leeds business do instead of exploiting the system set up for the genuinely self-employed.”