Deliveroo boss says sorry after government steps into pay row

by Lucy Hook16 Aug 2016
The boss of restaurant-delivery company Deliveroo has apologised after the company was ordered by the UK government to pay workers the ‘living’ wage unless a court rules that they are self-employed.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy insisted that workers must be paid the “national living wage” (NLW) of £7.20 an hour unless a court or HM Revenue and Customs defines them as self-employed, The Guardian reports.

The directive comes after hundreds of Uber couriers staged a protest at a new pay scheme proposed by the firm, which would see drivers paid £3.75 per delivery, rather than £7 an hour plus £1 per delivery under the current rates.

Following the spat, William Shu, Deliveroo’s co-founder and chief executive, partially back-tracked on the new system, saying that workers could now opt out of what he described as a ‘trial’ scheme.

Speaking to the BBC’s Today programme, he apologised to workers and said that he expected them to earn more under the new system.

“I’m very sorry things have gone to this point. Our riders are the life blood of our business and without them we are nothing,” Shu said in the interview.
 “This [the new pay plan] is in response to our riders’ number one concern which is flexibility … This was a choice for them. If the riders choose to be on a new scheme that’s great … If riders feel like it’s not for them, they can choose to work on the old scheme as well,” The Guardian reports.

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