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  1. ITV Report

Undercover at Deliveroo - the reality of being a self-employed rider

Food delivered fast to your door. For the riders it's supposed to be flexible work with competitive pay. But is it?

To find out ITV News went undercover, a journalist worked for Deliveroo to see what it's like - from the induction to the company to cycling through traffic and making the deliveries on time.

It's a very modern way of working all you need is a bike and a phone and you're in business.

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

But many riders aren't happy. The problem is, they feel like they work for Deliveroo but they have no workers' rights. That means no holiday pay and no sick leave.

The company gets round this by saying all riders are self employed, independent contractors free to work when they chose.

But our rider had no such freedom, being told certain hours and days he had to work as well as the areas.

We showed our footage to the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain who are currently involved in legal action against Deliveroo.

The fact that they tell them when to work and tell them how to do the job and they wear Deliveroo uniforms and they are under instructions from Deliveroo - all of that is evidence that they are not independent contractors, they are workers.

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

– JASON MOYER-LEE, Independent Workers Union of Great Britain

But none of these benefits are on the menu at Deliveroo.

So no sick pay - but what about the money?

But on the road making money was harder. In his first shift our rider made £12.90 in 3 hours.

At his Westminster office MP Neil Coyle saw our footage. He will be questioning Deliveroo tomorrow as part of the Work and Pensions Select Committee about how the company pays its riders.

It's a complete rip off. A promised income of a certain level that they never get.

They are told they have to cover equipment costs that are essential to the work they do.

And it's deeply unfair to tax payers who end up subsidising very low income through housing benefit, through tax credits, etc.

– Neil Coyle MP, Work and Pension's Select Committee

And as for training at Deliveroo, it was brief. It took just 30 minutes. And in that time, the instructor implied that the law of the road was important for the trial only.

On the street we saw Deliveroo riders cycling with their own style, one goes through a red light.

The work is tough riding against the clock whatever the weather. This rider had been working for Deliveroo for a month.

But don't expect Deliveroo to pay you if you need a break.

Matthew Taylor is a government adviser looking into the rights of gig economy workers.

Overwhelming flexibility is a good thing it's what people chose and we've got a record in Britain of creating jobs and creating flexible jobs.

But there is the danger of exploitation - there is the danger that people are stuck in a position where they don't have any power - the power you'd expect from self employment - but yet they don't really have any protections and entitlements either.

So that's something we have to look at.

– Matthew Taylor, Government adviser

Food for thought for a company that last year has revenues of £130 million.

Deliveroo contests the £12.90 our reporter made in his first shift of three hours. They say that the uniform and equipment was deducted from that first pay slip.

Deliveroo claims on its website that riders can make up to £16-an-hour and the company says riders are happy about their employment status.

I think it's brilliant working for Deliveroo - the freedom to do as I please and work when I want - it's freedom - that's exactly what it is.

[Would you like sick pay, holiday pay]

I'm in two minds. I would like it but if it meant giving up my freedom, my flexibility then I wouldn't like it.

– Cain Jones, Deliveroo rider

I'm never told what hours or days I have to work. I work whenever I want and whatever time I want to work.

[Would you like sick pay, holiday pay]

I would like that but I feel like if they did bring this in I would have to commit to certain days and it wouldn't be as flexible as I like at the moment.

– Mychelle Scott, Deliveroo rider

Deliveroo added that driver must obey the law and the Highway Code. Regarding our reporter's problems with his equipment Deliveroo says they could have replaced it for free.

As for whether riders were employees or self-employed

Our riders are self-employed - the way it works it they will provide us with their availability.

We'll take that availability and we'll match that with consumer demand. And that allows us to ensure that customers get a great experience but also the riders are able to maximise their earnings.

– Dan Warne, Deliveroo UK

Deliveroo also contents that some riders weren't paid for toilet breaks. Dan Warne from Deliveroo UK will be speaking in front of the Work and Pensions Select Committee tomorrow.