The Deliveroo riders who are earning less than minimum wage as company eyes up potential £8.8 billion stock market debut

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Richard Pallot

  • Words by ITV News Correspondent Richard Pallot

£8.8 billion - that's the astonishing figure Deliveroo is on track to be valued at next week.

The biggest London stock market debut in a decade, and one that could net £500 million for Chief Executive Will Shu.So, why are some of its riders telling us they often don't take home minimum wage delivering for them?

An ITV News investigation with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and the Daily Mirror has revealed that despite the company's public pledge that "Deliveroo riders are paid more than £10 an hour on average", many of those we surveyed are earning much less. 

In the first analysis of its kind, more than 300 Deliveroo riders from across the UK submitted thousands of their pay invoices from over the last year. 

Riders' invoices were collected by the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain and then independently analysed by The Bureau. 

That analysis has revealed that more than one in three riders (41%) earnt less than £8.72 per hour, the minimum wage for anyone aged 25 or over.

And one in 10 took home less than £6.45, the lowest legal minimum wage for an adult.

  • Richard Pallot on reaction to the investigation:

Reece Lloyd is just 21. He's been riding for Deliveroo in Newcastle since 2018. On a Thursday evening, in peak evening time, we cycled with him for three hours.

Accepting every job on offer, and pedalling more than 20 kilometres, Deliveroo's reward was £21.50, or £7.16 per hour. More than a pound an hour under the minimum wage for someone his age.

"It's standard to be fair, you get used to earning less than you should," says the student.

"It can make me feel exploited, and at times in the past, I've earnt as little as three or four pounds per hour."

ITV News Correspondent Richard Pallot cycled with Reece for three hours

Reece admits that he enjoys the flexibility of logging on and off whenever he wants, but that's it.  

He adds, "as a career, I'd rate it as a three out of ten, max".

The number of riders has doubled during the last year, up to 50,000.

The pandemic catapulted the business forward, but also the competition among the workforce.

Marc Jelly, a Deliveroo rider and union representative in south Wales, found life tough.

"There's so many people on the app, they're hiring more and more, and everyone is fighting for the business.

"I'd seen all the adverts saying you can make more than £10 an hour, and I thought I want a slice of that. But that's not the reality, for a full 12-hour day, I made £60."

Marc says wages at Deliveroo have not lived up to his expectations

He is still working part-time for Deliveroo, as he says there are few other work options.

In a statement, Deliveroo points out that "riders have the complete freedom to choose when and where to work and can choose which deliveries to accept and which to reject.

"They are paid for each delivery they choose to complete and earn £13 per hour on average at our busiest times.

"We communicate with thousands of riders every week and satisfaction is currently at an all-time high. These unverifiable, misleading claims claim, at most, to have spoken with 0.6% of Deliveroo riders and should not be taken seriously.”It also highlights that this is not traditional employment, and that a significant number of their riders do not use it as their primary source of income.

ITV News Economics Editor Joel Hills breaks down what this could all mean for the company

The company does not have to pay minimum wage as its riders are classed as self-employed in the UK.

This has been challenged in the UK courts three times and each time the ruling has been upheld.

However, courts in Italy and Spain have recently ruled that Deliveroo's riders are workers, while here, Uber drivers are also now classified as such.

Credit: PA

Henry Chango-Lopez, from the Independent Workers' Union of Great Britain, says Deliveroo is giving Britain a bad name.

He adds: "The public has a right to know about the dangerous precedent it sets for the future of work in Britain if Deliveroo continues these practices and is still hailed by the government as a ‘British tech success.’

"It’s deplorable that Deliveroo has continued these practices even through a pandemic."

England footballer and poverty campaigner Marcus Rashford will be raising the issues with Deliveroo at the "earliest opportunity", a representative has told ITV News.

The representative of the Manchester United striker said: "Marcus is currently within the confines of the national team camp but will discuss the investigation with the senior team at Deliveroo in detail at the earliest opportunity.

"The Child Food Poverty Taskforce was built to support the most vulnerable children across the UK. Minimum wage is the absolute starting point to stabilising households where children are vulnerable. This discussion will be had privately to acquire clarity."Deliveroo is an official partner and sponsor of the England national team.

There are significant issues Deliveroo must now address.

It warns that changes to workers' rights could prevent it even operating as a UK business, but investment funds are already saying they won't invest in its shares for ethical reasons.

Aviva Investors and Aberdeen Standard say they won't get involved because of the way Deliveroo treats it workers. Other funds are set to follow as soon as today.

The gig economy may be at a crossroads - but so it would appear is Deliveroo. And for a company whose business model is based on speed, it may need to act fast, again.