Deliveroo 'dark kitchen' in Leeds forced to close after couriers go on strike

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Deliveroo couriers forced a 'dark kitchen' in Leeds to close on Sunday evening in protest against changes to the way riders are allocated bookings.

Around 20 couriers formed a picket line outside the Deliveroo Editions kitchen at the Scott Hall Mills industrial complex near Meanwood.

Deliveroo couriers, with face covered to protect their identities, outside the Scott Hall Mills industrial complex.

Deliveroo couriers, with face covered to protect their identities, outside the Scott Hall Mills industrial complex.

-> Dark kitchens: This is where your Deliveroo takeaway in Leeds really comes from
The site was closed for around two hours and the businesses inside it, including Mr Miyagi Ramen & Boa, stopped accepting orders at around 7pm.

Editions kitchens are rented industrial units, usually based in an out-of-town business park, which are leased to restaurant brands for use as delivery-only kitchens.

Deliveroo has changed the way couriers are given shifts in some areas of the country, so that scooters and cars are prioritised above cyclists.

Leeds Couriers Network say the change will mean a 'dramatic' reduction in hours and pay for many couriers nationally.

Food brands make use of so called 'dark kitchens' to make meals purely for home delivery.

Food brands make use of so called 'dark kitchens' to make meals purely for home delivery.

A spokesman for the network said: "Deliveroo originally promised to all riders that these new changes will not affect booking slots, a claim that has been proven to be completely false.

"The profit driven reasoning behind Deliveroo’s decision is that cyclists are less ‘efficient’ than cars and scooters.

"This is a complete insult to cyclists who have tirelessly worked hard on the ground, facing dangerous road traffic, icy road conditions and summer heat waves to build this company up to what it has become today."

-> See what happens when you place an order with a restaurant in the Leeds Deliveroo Editions 'dark kitchen'
He added: "It is also a complete insult to the general public who in recent months have taken to the streets to demand that our companies and governments clean up our cities and solve global warming.

Staff from Noodle Inn working at the Deliveroo Editions kitchen in Leeds.

Staff from Noodle Inn working at the Deliveroo Editions kitchen in Leeds.

"While Leeds City Council puts forward plans to pedestrianise Leeds city centre, Deliveroo attempts to choke the city with more vehicles. This is the profit driven logic of Deliveroo and the so called ‘gig economy’."

The Leeds Courier Network is calling on Deliveroo to suspend the changes and offer 'fair pay for all jobs'.

They plan on continuing industrial action until their demands are met.

Deliveroo say the changes are needed where longer delivery distances are more common and say they do not expect shifts for cyclists to be significantly affected.

The company said 125 couriers were still working on Sunday.

-> Inside the 'dark kitchen' in Leeds where meals are made for Deliveroo home delivery
A Deliveroo spokesman said: “Deliveroo has made a change to its booking system to ensure we are better able to serve customers on longer distance deliveries.

"No change has been made to the fees riders will be offered. Deliveroo continues to offer well-paid, flexible work to all riders who choose to work with us.

"We engage extensively with riders and take any concerns in to account. Disruption, however, only denies riders the opportunity to work and earn, prevents restaurants from making sales, and stops customers from receiving the food they want.

"We do not believe this action is representative of the vast majority of hardworking riders."