ITV News investigation reveals the reality of life as a Deliveroo rider

  • Video report by ITV News Business Editor Joel Hills

An ITV News investigation has revealed the reality of life as a Deliveroo rider, with evidence of unsafe training and pay being docked for toilet breaks.

The company, which only launched in 2013, has more than 10,000 bike and scooter riders across the UK delivering meals from more than 8,000 restaurants to homes in 90 towns and cities.

On its website, Deliveroo says working for them is about flexibility in offering "amazing service" to customers and their riders.

The company insists its riders are self-employed, independent contractors who are free to work when they choose.

However, many complain of feeling like they work for Deliveroo but do not benefit from workers' rights such as holiday pay and sick leave.

And an undercover investigation in London found that riders have little flexibility over their working hours.

In secretly filmed footage, one manager could be seen telling a rider: "You need to do at least two out of Friday, Saturday, Sunday - two dinners out of those. Other than that it's up to you how many you want to do."

Jason Moyer-Lee, from the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB), told ITV News: "The fact that they tell them when to work and they tell them how to do their job and they wear Deliveroo uniforms and they're under instruction from Deliveroo - all of that is evidence that they are not independent contractors, they are workers.

"And as such they should be entitled to holidays, minimum wage and all the other employment rights that accrue to workers."

The IWGB union is threatening strike action unless the company increases commission and freezes rider recruitment.

ITV News went undercover to investigate what life is like as a Deliveroo rider. Credit: ITV News

Frank Field, the Chair of the Work and Pensions Select Committee, said: "It doesn't get much worse than this, if you are about making profits but in the process exploiting the worker.

"What we've got here is the now-common ingredients of the gig economy."

The British boss of Deliveroo, however, insists its riders are self-employed.

Dan Warne, Managing Director of Deliveroo UK, told ITV News: "The way that it works is they will provide us with their availability. We'll take that availability and we'll match that with consumer demand."

The company added that the majority of its riders are happy, but the evidence suggests many are not.