Food delivery apps in Ireland, such as Deliveroo and Just Eat, have been accused of exploiting food delivery couriers who work on “stamp two” visas. These visas prohibit individuals from working legally for big delivery companies, so they resort to renting accounts from individuals who can register as self-employed and legally work. This practice can cost riders up to €150 a week, in addition to bicycle rental fees that can amount to €100 a week.
Operating on multiple platforms allows riders to increase their income, but it also means having to pay multiple rental fees. This has resulted in couriers having to spend around €300 per week on bills alone, making it difficult for them to make a sustainable income. Many of these couriers work long hours, up to seven days a week, and typically earn only €2.90 per delivery. They often encounter issues such as duplicated orders, where they are not paid for both deliveries, and account scams, where the owner disappears without paying the rider’s earnings.
The exploitative practices also extend to the accounts themselves. Some account owners sell their accounts for a higher fee, leaving the person renting it without access. Riders can also lose access to their accounts if the owner fails to update their documents in a timely manner. Furthermore, the minimum payment for delivery has dropped from €4.39 to €2.90 in 2021, and some jobs are now being offered for as low as €1. This indicates that delivery companies are testing how low they can pay their couriers.
In response to these allegations, a Deliveroo spokesperson stated that riders in Ireland earn at least the national minimum wage plus costs for their time spent on orders. However, the company did not disclose the average income of riders. The exploitation of food delivery couriers highlights the need for better regulations and protections in the gig economy.
Sources: The Irish Times