Just Eat plans to stop employing its own couriers and use contractors instead, which will result in 1,870 job losses.
The food delivery firm is consulting on plans to shift back to a gig economy model in the UK after employing its own couriers in several cities for the past few years.
The decision will result in the loss of 1,700 courier jobs. Some 170 head office staff will also be affected but will be considered for redeployment.
Only a small proportion of the couriers used by the firm are directly employed; it still uses self-employed couriers in most of the UK cities it operates in, as well as across Europe.
The ‘Scoober’ employment model began in 2020 and operated in London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Nottingham, Cambridge and Brighton. Riders were entitled to more than the national minimum wage, as well as pension contributions and benefits including holiday pay and sick pay.
The affected couriers will be given six weeks’ notice with pay.
A Just Eat Takeaway spokesperson said: “Just Eat UK is reorganising and simplifying its delivery operation as part of the ongoing goal of improving efficiency. As part of this process we have proposed to transition away from the worker model for couriers, which is a small part of our overall delivery operations – running in certain parts of six UK cities. There will be no impact to the service provided to partners and customers.
“Our top priority now is to support impacted employees and couriers. We are hugely grateful to our talented colleagues and couriers who have been part of the worker model in the UK.”
Alex Marshall, president of the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB), which represents workers in the gig economy, urged the company to offer the affected couriers priority work.
He said: “After years of the gig economy dominating the food delivery sector, stripping riders of rights and reducing pay to a bare minimum, many of our members welcomed the introduction of the Scoober model. Finally riders would have certainty about getting enough work to make ends meet, the opportunity to take sick days and holidays, and a security that couriers were sorely missing.
“To see Just Eat now take work away from almost 2,000 workers without consultation, only letting them know through an email, is appalling. But it is typical of the negligence and cruelty that these companies have towards the riders who make their business run.
“Riders deserve to be offered priority work in whatever new system Just Eat now brings in, and to be given the opportunity to properly consult with management throughout the transition away from the agency. Right now they are being thrown to the wayside as if they are expendable.”
In 2021, Just Eat said it would offer couriers in France permanent contracts.