Ocado ‘stealing from the poor & giving to the rich’, say riders

Ocado couriers have said they are “not just for lockdown” in a protest against job losses and pay cuts.

It comes despite the retailer’s plan to ditch a controversial sub-contractor and employ the riders directly.

The Observer reported in August that a number of couriers, employed on Ocado’s rapid delivery service Zoom by third-party Ryde, were paid less than minimum wage.

The claims were strongly denied by Ocado and Ryde and are the subject of a legal complaint.

READ MORE: Ocado moves north of the border with £80m Scottish hub

Nevertheless, the online supermarket later announced that all Zoom workers would be “offered the opportunity to work directly for Ocado”.

In a protest yesterday at Ocado’s Acton depot in west London, couriers accused the FTSE 100 company of lying.

Not everyone has been offered a new contract, while others will be re-employed on worse terms, they alleged.

“We’re demonstrating to make Ocado listen to our demands for decent pay and fair conditions, for ourselves and our families,” rider Ahmad Fahim said.

“Our hard work has helped make Ocado Zoom a successful business, building it up from nothing to thousands of orders a day.

“The public has applauded us for our efforts but Ocado has taken every opportunity to slash our pay and force many of us out of work.”

Ealing Central and Acton MP Rupa Huq was among the protesters, who chanted “Shame on O-C-A-D-O” and held placards reading “Key workers are for life, not just for lockdown”.

Fellow Labour MPs Barry Gardiner and Apsana Begum have also lent their support to the campaign.

IWGB president Alex Marshall accused the company of “misleading the public whilst continuing to exploit these key worker heroes”.

“Ocado claims to be in-housing all workers but all we are seeing are job losses and big pay cuts,” he said.

In a blog statement from September, Ocado said: “We’re moving into the final stages of recruiting our Ocado Zoom Acton delivery team and ending our current third party supplier arrangements.”

“Every role comes with market-leading employee benefits including health insurance, pension, holiday and share scheme.

“We look forward to welcoming our new drivers to the Ocado Zoom team”.

The supermarket also noted that orders through Ocado Zoom account for just one per cent of home deliveries.

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